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Monarch butterfly

Danaus plexippus


The black-veined, orange upperside with a white-spotted black border is unique. The Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) though similar, has a black hindwing median line. Monarchs are easy to recognize by their distinctive leisurely, floating flight, holding their wings V-shaped above the body when gliding; Viceroys hold their wings in a flat plane when gliding, a behaviour characteristic of the genus Limenitis.


In the spring and summer, the monarch butterfly's habitat is open fields and meadows with milkweed. In winter it can be found on the coast of southern California and at high altitudes in central Mexico. D. plexippus is a predominantly open country, frost intolerant species whose range of breeding habitats is greatly dependent upon the presence of asclepiad flora (milkweeds). The monarch requires dense tree cover for overwintering, and the majority of the present sites in California are associated with Eucalyptus trees, specifically the blue gum, Eucalyptus globulus. These trees were introduced from Australia and have filled the role of native species that have been been reduced by logging.


I was participating in the annual "welcome back monarchs day" festival at Natural bridges state park running the information booth. With milkweed on display, the monarch butterfly in the picture landed on it's leafs, trying to lay her eggs. As well as feeding nectar from the flowers.

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Spotted by

Santa Cruz, California, USA

Spotted on Oct 12, 2014
Submitted on Oct 17, 2014

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