Danaus plexippus - Monarch

Danaus plexippus – Monarch Butterfly

After posting photos of  Monarch mimic Viceroy Butterfly and the Queen Butterfly, it seems only appropriate to post the iconic Monarch Butterfly. if only to distinguish among them.

In Central Texas, both Monarchs and Queens can be found hovering over and feeding on Gregg Mistflower Conoclinium Greggii, shown here alongside the Monarch.  Of course, while Queen can be found here in the middle of July and August,  Monarchs tend to hang in Ohio and Canada until maybe September and October. This particular photo was taken in May a few years ago, probably a second generation new hatched, as Monarchs tend to clear out of Central Texas by May.

Around October, it would be helpful to be able to distinguish between the Monarch and the Queen. One thing is size – Monarchs tend to be larger.  With folded wings, the Monarch has a much lighter orange on its hindwing, while the Queen’s orange is much more saturated. On the upper wing,  the Monarch continues the “stained-glass” like pattern of black lines separating panels of orange, while the Queen has no lines. When the wings are opened, the Queen lacks any lines, with a solid orange, while the Monarch has the same pattern on both sides of its wings. And of course, the Viceroy has the horizontal line across the hindwing and is smaller than the monarch.