Monarch Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Superfamily: Papilionoidea Family: Nymphalidae Status: Resident in Madeira

Monarch Danaus plexippus

Recommended tours to watch this butterfly

Full-day birdwatching
Half-day birdwatching
Note: when booking any of these tours please state your interest in butterflies.


A very large orange butterfly with black and white spots on the borders and strong black veins on both upper and undersides. Males distinction from females is only by a black patch on the vein 2 on the upperside of the hind-wing.

Danaus plexippus Caterpillars

A large caterpillar all streaked with black, yellow and white transversal lines

Host & Food Plants

“The larva feeds on Milkweeds (Asclepiadaceae), especially Asclepias curassavica and Asclepias fruticosa (Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006).

Habitat & behaviour

Typically seen in low altitudes or coastal areas with flowers.

Distribution in Atlantic Islands of Macaronesia:

Occurs in Madeira, Porto Santo Islands, Azores and Canary Islands (Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006)


Regional status according to Aguiar & Karsholt, 2008: Native to Madeira & Porto Santo
Regional status according to Wakeham-Dawson et al., 2001: Resident
Status according to the European Red List of Butterflies, 2010: Not Applicable (species of marginal occurrence or introduced to Europe after AD 1500).

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