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.