The Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly - Nature's Wake

The Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is one of the most iconic species of butterflies and almost everyone knows what these beautiful pollinators look like. It is also known as 

milkweed, common tiger, wanderer, and black veined brown depending on the region. They have an average wingspan of 8.9-10.2cm. Males are slightly bigger and have two little dots on each hindwing.

The orange, black, and white insects are famous in North America or their annual great migration. This takes place in the fall and begins in southern Canada and the northern USA. They follow a path south to Florida and Mexico where they spend the winter and then return north.  

The name "Monarch" is thought to be in honour of King William III of England whose second title "Prince of Orange" may correspond with the bright orange of the Monarch Butterfly. 

Monarch butterflies are being affected by habitat destruction and conservation efforts are underway to improve their migration path and preserve their wintering grounds.