Cottage Information


Monarch Butterfly

(Danaus plexippus)


The adult Monarch is a bright orange butterfly


with heavy black veins and a wide black border


containing two rows of white spots. The


wingspan is about 10 cm. Monarchs can be


distinguished from the smaller but similar


Viceroy by the absence of an inner margin of


black on the hind wings. Monarch larvae or


caterpillars are striped yellow, black and white;


they grow to about 5 cm in length. The


distinctive gold-green chrysalis suspends from a


milkweed leaf or branch.


Breeding habitat is confined to where milkweed grows, since the leaves of these plants are the


sole food of the caterpillars. Different species of milkweeds grow in a variety of environments,


including meadows, along roadsides and in ditches, open wetlands, dry sandy areas, short and


tall grass prairies, river banks, irrigation ditches, arid valleys and south facing hillsides.


Milkweed grows in the Elliot Lake area and thus a high potential for the Monarch to occur. The


Butterfly atlas has indicated records of monarch butterflies occurring in our area.


Monarch annually migrate south, beginning in August and continuing until mid-October.