Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Monarch caterpillar

Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus)

Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae

Size range

  • About 60 mm long when fully grown


  • Originally from the Pacific Coast of North America

Life History

  • Large butterfly, wingspan up to 100 mm
  • 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