Surname: Monarch Butterfly
Other names: American monarch
Latin name: Danaus plexippus
size: 8-12 cm
Older: as a butterfly about a month
Appearance: light to dark orange wings with black veins and edges
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Herbivore (herbivor) or Nectareater (nektarivor)
food: as a caterpillar plant material; as a butterfly nectar
distribution: USA, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand
original origin: North America
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: open landscapes with flat plant growth
natural enemies: Ants, ladybugs, isolated species of birds
sexual maturity: ?
mating season: ?
oviposition: 100 - 500 eggs
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the monarch butterfly
- The Monarch Butterfly, or Danaus plexippus, also called the American Monarch, describes a butterfly numbered among the noble butterflies, which is native to much of the American continent.
- It is distributed in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, many Pacific islands and Central and South America. Through naturalization, he also occurs today in Australia and New Zealand.
- It prefers populated open landscapes, which have a high growth with silk plants, the main food source of the caterpillars. It is dependent on its distribution area in the flat country as well as in mountain situations to be found. The largest populations live in North America around Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and Lake Erie.
- Monarch butterflies are known for their migrations when millions of specimens fly together and settle in their winter quarters of Mexico and California on just a few acres of land.
- The scientists have not been able to explain clearly how the moths orient themselves on their migrations, because they have no memory. Researchers assume that the information in their genome is programmed.
- The monarch butterfly reaches wingspans of up to thirteen centimeters and has a black body.
- The conspicuous drawing of the wings is the clearest identifying feature of the monarch butterfly. The wings are bright orange and show black veins and edges. The edges are lined by two rows of cream and white dots.
- The female moths are a bit more muted and show a more yellowish tone.
- The caterpillars are also colored black and unmistakable due to their white and bright yellow horizontal stripes.
- To protect themselves from predators, they take on the Seidenpflanzengewächse heart glycosides, which make them an inedible prey. Vertebrates that consume caterpillars or monarch butterflies, then suffer from vomiting. Only insects such as ants, flies and beetles are therefore important as predators of eggs and caterpillars.
- During the mating season the males show a pronounced territorial behavior and courtship behavior.
- After just five days, the caterpillars, which are six centimeters long, hatch from the eggs.
- After the pupal rest, which lasts for a maximum of twelve days, the finished moths hatch and begin to fly after the wings have dried.