Monarch

Danaus plexippus

monarch1 Wing span: 3 3/8 - 4 7/8 inches (8.6 - 12.4 cm).

Caterpillar hosts: Milkweeds including common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), and showy milkweed (A. speciosa); and milkweed vine in the tropics.

Eggs laid singly on host; caterpillars eat leaves and flowers.

Habitat: Many open habitats including fields, meadows, weedy areas, marshes, and roadsides.

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Picture taken June 20, 2007

youngcat

This very young caterpiller was not the intended target of the photo. After I got home as I was going through the pictures, I spotted this little guy in the milkweed flowers.

Picture on left and below taken June 20, 2007
largecat

Sightings Chart

Monarch population on Crex Meadows seems to be impacted significantly by drought. However, in 2016 (and 2014), there seemed to be a greatly reduced number of caterpillars on abundant milkweed. Dry conditions was not an issue in these two recent years.
Chart Accuracy Self Rating: Very high.

Taxonomy

TaxonomyMonarch -Danaus plexippus   Hodges#4614
Kingdom: Animalia Animals
Phylum: Arthropoda Arthropods
Superclass: Hexapoda Hexapods
Class: Insecta Insects
Subclass: Pterygota Winged Insects
    Order: Lepidoptera Butterflies and Moths
      Superfamily:  Papilionoidea
          Family:   Nymphalidae    Brushfooted
            Subfamily:    Danainae    
               Tribe:      Danaini
                 Subtribe:     
                   Genus:       Danaus
                      Specie:           plexippus