Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Monarch butterfly

Photo by Sally Phillips

Photo by Sally Phillips

Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus)

Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae

Size range

  • Large butterfly, wingspan up to 100 mm


  • Originally from the Pacific Coast of North America

Life History

  • Caterpillars feed on plants of the Asclepiadaceae family, usually Swan plant in New Zealand
  • Alternative food plants are Tweedia and Araujia
  • Adults take only liquid food, nectar and water

Additional images