Monarch (Wanderer) Danaus plexippus Wingspan: 92 mm - 93 mm
Sighted: All year but more common in the warmer months.
Larval Food Plants: Asclepias spp., Gomphocarpus fruiticosus, G. physocarpus all Milkweeds or Wild Cotton Bushes
Female Monarch feeding on Abelia flowers, 28 Jan 2007
This is a butterfly many people are familiar with, often visiting gardens across much of Australia or flying over paddocks. It is found in many countries around the world and is well known because of its long migrations from Canada to Mexico to overwinter in very large groups. In some cooler parts of Australia Monarch butterflies will gather in large numbers also to overwinter but in warmer areas they are able to breed all year round.
The Monarch butterfly is not a native to Australia but is thought to have first come here around 1871 most probably traveling on a ship or by flying from island to island across the Pacific. Its food plants are also introduced to Australia.
Although they are strong, fast flyers, they will also glide between bursts of flight. With their startling orange and black colouring they are a wonderful sight in the garden.
An April Monarch feeding on the last of the Buddleia flowers, 14 Apr 2017
Flowers of the yellow buddleia last longer into autumn than the others. A male, 24 Mar 2018
A male showing the scent gland pouch on the hindwing, 18 Nov 2016
Female Monarch - note no scent gland on the hindwing
Wanderer on a single Dahlia, 11 Jan 2018
24 Dec 2017, 11.15am
Monarch caterpillars on milkweed we planted in the garden
Chrysalis ready to hatch
Female Monarch laying eggs Mt Cotton, Qld
Monarch on its foodplant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus at Mt.Cotton, Qld.