Danaus plexippusI was so happy to see the second Monarch Butterfly this year in My Garden. At least just for a very short time. It was enjoying nectar from my flowers, then flew twice around me and was gone. It's such a pleasure to see them. They make your day! We have to save them. Please, plant milk weeds in your gardens, I already did.
:) Happy Friday!
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae) in the family Nymphalidae. It may be the most familiar North American butterfly. Its wings feature an easily recognizable orange and black pattern, with a wingspan of 8.9–10.2 cm (3½–4 in) (the viceroy butterfly is similar in color and pattern, but is markedly smaller and has an extra black stripe across the hind wing).
The eastern North American monarch population is notable for its annual southward late-summer/autumn migration from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico, covering thousands of miles, with a corresponding multi-generational return North. The western North American population of monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains most often migrate to sites in California but have been found in overwintering Mexico sites. Monarchs were transported to the International Space Station and were bred there
The monarch’s wingspan ranges from 8.9 to 10.2 centimetres (3.5–4.0 in). The upper side of the wings is tawny-orange, the veins and margins are black, and in the margins are two series of small white spots. The forewings also have a few orange spots near the tip. The underside is similar, but the tip of the forewing and hindwing are yellow-brown instead of tawny-orange and the white spots are larger. The shape and color of the wings change at the beginning of the migration and appear redder and more elongated than later migrants. Wings size and shape differ between migratory and non-migratory monarchs. Monarchs from the eastern population of North America have larger and more angular forewings than those in the western population.
Its flight has been described as "slow and sailing".
Adults exhibit sexual dimorphism. The male has a black patch or spot of androconial scales on either hindwing (in some butterflies, these patches disperse pheromones, but are not known to do so in monarchs), and the black veins on its wing are lighter and narrower than those on the female’s. The male is also slightly larger. One variation has been observed in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the United States termed nivosus by lepidopterists. It is grayish-white in all areas of the wings that are normally orange and is only about 1% or less of all monarchs, but populations as high as 10% exist on Oahu in Hawaii.
Like all insects, the monarch has six legs, but uses the four hindlegs as it carries its two front legs against its body
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