Female Monarch Butterly
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae) in the family Nymphalidae. It may be the most familiar North American butterfly. The monarch butterfly is not currently listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or protected specifically under U.S. domestic laws. Its wings feature an easily recognizable orange and black pattern, with a wingspan of 8.9–10.2 cm (3½–4 in). (The viceroy butterfly is similar in color and pattern, but is markedly smaller, and has an extra black stripe across the hind wing.) Female monarchs have darker veins on their wings, and the males have a spot called the androconium in the center of each hind wing. Males are also slightly larger than female monarchs.
Male Monarch Butterfly
The eastern North American monarch population is notable for its southward late summer/autumn migration from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico, covering thousands of miles.
The western North American population of monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to California.