Danaus gilippus

Medium sized butterfly with a wing span up to 3 7/8 inches. The uppersides of the wings are chestnut brown with black borders and two rows of white spots; the upperside of the male hindwing has a black scale patch. The undersides have a black border with two rows of white spots.
Florida and southwester United States, West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America; strays into the central and northern United States.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
All year in South Florida.
Marshes, praires, hammock edges and open, disturbed sites.
Eggs are laid on the leaves, stems, and flower buds of host plants.
Natural History:
Caterpillars feed on the leaves, flower buds, and stems of host plants. Native larval host plants include the cultivated wildflowers fewflower milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), green antelopehorn (Asclepias viridis), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and rarely butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and the vine, vine milkweed (Cynanchum angustifolium). Other native host plants include the wildflowers Curtiss' milkweed (Asclepias curtissii), longleaf milkweed (Asclepias longifolia), pinewoods milkweed (Asclepias humistrata) and velvetleaf milkweed (Asclepias tomentosa) and the vine, whitevine (Sarcostemma clausum). The nonnative scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is also a larval host plant. Native nectar plants include frog fruit (Phyla nodiflora).
For more information, visit the Florida Museum of Natural History's Florida Wildflowers & Butterflies website and Butterflies and Moths of North America.

Erin Backus
Erin Backus
Erin Backus
Erin Backus
Erin Backus