Part of milkweed butterfly  genus Danaus in four-footed butterfly  family Nymphalidae in butterfly/moth  order Lepidoptera in 🐞︎🐛︎🐜︎🐝︎ insect  class Insecta.

Native to much of 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 🇲🇽 North America, plus Central America and northern South America, extending to islands across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

🏛🐞︎🐛︎🐜︎🐝︎ State insect of Alabama, Idaho, Illinois and Texas, and the 🏛🦋︎ state butterfly of Minnesota, Vermont and West Virginia.

Uses by native peoples
(Ethnobotany database)

The monarch butterfly is famous for its multi-generation migration:
    from their  wintering grounds in the mountains of central 🇲🇽 México,
    following the 🌱︎ new growth and ⚘ spring flowers of milkweed  genus Asclepias and related genera — the only host plant on which monarch's ⚫︎ eggs and 🐛︎ larvae will grow and survive,
    north through Texas, and much of the 🇺🇸 USA then 🇨🇦 Canada,
    ☀︎ summering in a surprisingly-large areas of these two countries,
    before following the late-season flower nectar back to their  wintering grounds.

Above or to left is a robo-video of these  wintering monarch butterflies.  For full effect, select the video image, then icons YouTube (if present), ⏯︎ ⊠ Skip Ads (if present),  captions (if you wish),  full­screen, and ▶︎ Play.

What an amazing story!

Other monarch populations have different migration patterns.  In areas with year-round flower nectar and milkweed plants, monarch butterflies can live and reproduce year-round, and thus do not migrate at all!

image from PBS video La Mariposa The Butterfly, select to view video

🚼︎ For kids!  Enjoy this video of 🇲🇽 Mexican folktale The Butterfly/La Mariposa, that explains why butterflies do not live in houses, and why they migrate.  Story told en español and in English.

Or from the northern perspective,  ▶︎  video The Great American Monarch Migration in North America, by MSU Extension 4-H.

For full effect, select the video image or link, then icons ▶︎ Play and  full­screen.

What an amazing story!

To see where monarch butterflies are now on their migration, see these 🗺 maps of citizen science sightings of monarch butterfly ⚫︎ eggs, 🐛︎ larvae, and fall roostings.

Then, if you want, report your own sightings!

(This site also has cool 🗺 maps of 🐦︎ hummingbirds  family Trochilidae, bald eagles  Haliaeetus leucocephalus, American robins  Turdus migratorius, gray whales  Eschrichtius robustus, 🌷︎ tulips  genus Tulipa,  ☀︎ sunlight, 💧︎ ice-out, and 🌱︎ leaf-out!)

If you have a milkweed patch in (🇺🇸 USA?) (Michigan?), can mow half of it, and would like to record Monarch activities on your patch and share them on a Citizen Science project, please see Regrow Milkweed for Monarchs.   You can sign up anytime.  When details are ready for the next study, you will receive email about registering your site(s), what to record, and how to report it.

Poster of monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus lifecycle, larval host plants, adult nectar plants, and growing info for these plants.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file

Mowing and Management:  Best Practices for Monarchs.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file   For agricultural producers and land managers (USDA)

Xerces Society

Learn more about monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus

🔍︎ 🔍︎ images Discover Life Encyclopedia of Life Wikipedia