monarch butterfly

monarch butterfly

Species (Danaus plexippus, family Danaidae) of milkweed butterfly, occurring worldwide but mainly in the Americas. It is the only lepidopteran species to make a true migration (a two-way flight by the same individual). In North America, thousands of monarchs gather in autumn, migrate southward, sometimes more than 1,800 mi (2,900 km), and return north in spring. The distinctive coloration of the adult's wings (reddish brown, with black veins, a black border, and two rows of spots) warns predators of its bad taste. Several other species derive protection by mimicking its coloration.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on monarch butterfly, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up monarch butterfly? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More