monarch butterfly noun
: a large orange and black American butterfly
: a large migratory American butterfly (Danaus plexippus) that has orange-brown wings with black veins and borders and a larva that feeds on milkweed
Illustration of MONARCH BUTTERFLY
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monarch butterfly noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
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.
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