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Danaus plexippus - Linnaeus, 1758

Danaus plexippus - Linnaeus, 1758
Photo Information
Copyright: Jesus Linares (jlinaresp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1303 W: 56 N: 4023] (17292)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-05-29
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon SX 110 IS
Exposure: f/4.3, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): South American Butterflies 4 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2011-06-01 18:41
Viewed: 3051
Points: 54
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Danaus plexippus - Linnaeus, 1758 (Monarch Butterfly)

Hello friends!

In my town there are many butterflies, you know because the pictures I've posted. But curiously, one of the least common is the "Monarch", despite being very common in other countries, here in Venezuela, are very scarce.

Last Sunday I was forced to work until 02:30 PM (this is the life of the computer systems engineer), and when I arrived at my house, I thought I would not do any pictures that day. But (thank God) I found this fine specimen of monarch butterfly resting after a downpour in the bushes in the garden of my mother.

The picture was shoted from ​​about two meters, with all the zoom of the camera (10 X) and light conditions a little complex. The background white/gray is the wall of the house of my mother! :) I think the photo have several shortcomings of focus and light, but not bad for a Sunday afternoon, after work! :)



Reino: Animalia
Filo: Arthropoda
Clase: Insecta
Orden: Lepidoptera
Familia: Nymphalidae
Subfamilia: Danainae
Tribu: Danaini
Subtribu: Danaina
Género: Danaus -Kluk, 1802
Especie: D. plexippus
Nombre binomial: Danaus plexippus - Linnaeus, 1758

Common name: Monarch

Description: The Monarch’s wingspan ranges from 8.9–10.2 cm (3½–4 in.). The upper side of the wings is tawny-orange, the veins and margins are black, and in the margins are two series of small white spots. The fore wings also have a few orange spots near the tip. The underside is similar but the tip of the fore wing and hind wing are yellow-brown instead of tawny-orange and the white spots are larger.

The male has a black patch of androconial scales responsible for dispersing pheromones on the hind wings, and the black veins on its wing are narrower than the female’s. The male is also slightly larger.

A color variation has been observed in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the United States as early as the late 19th century. Named nivosus by Lepidopterists, it is grayish white in all areas of the wings that are normally orange. Generally it is only about 1% or less of all monarchs, but has maintained populations as high as 10% on Oahu in Hawaii, possibly due to selective predation.

Like all insects the Monarch has six legs, however it uses only four of its legs as it carries its two front legs against its body.

The eggs are creamy white and later turn pale yellow. They are elongate and subconical, with approximately 23 longitudinal ridges and many fine traverse lines.[13] A single egg weighs about 0.46 milligrams (0.0071 gr), and measures about 1.2 millimetres (47 mils) high and 0.9 millimetres (35 mils) wide.

The caterpillar is banded with yellow, black, and white stripes. The head is also striped with yellow and black. There are two pairs of black filaments, one pair on each end of the body. The caterpillar will reach a length of 5 cm (2 in).

The chrysalis is blue-green with a band of black and gold on the end of the abdomen. There are other gold spots on the thorax, the wing bases, and the eyes.

Distribution: In North America, the Monarch ranges from southern Canada to northern South America. It rarely strays to western Europe (rarely as far as Greece) from being transported by U. S. ships or by flying there if weather and wind conditions are right. It has also been found in Bermuda, Hawaii, the Solomons, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, Ceylon, India, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.

Migration: Monarchs are especially noted for their lengthy annual migration. In North America they make massive southward migrations starting in August until the first frost. A northward migration takes place in the spring. The monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south as the birds do on a regular basis. But no single individual makes the entire round trip. Female monarchs deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations.

By the end of October, the population east of the Rocky Mountains migrates to the sanctuaries of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve within the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt pine-oak forests in the Mexican states of Michoacán and México. The western population overwinters in various sites in central coastal and southern California, United States, notably in Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz.

The length of these journeys exceeds the normal lifespan of most monarchs, which is less than two months for butterflies born in early summer. The last generation of the summer enters into a non-reproductive phase known as diapause and may live seven months or more. During diapause, butterflies fly to one of many overwintering sites. The generation that overwinters generally does not reproduce until it leaves the overwintering site sometime in February and March.

It is thought that the overwinter population of those east of the Rockies may reach as far north as Texas and Oklahoma during the spring migration. It is the second, third and fourth generations that return to their northern locations in the United States and Canada in the spring. How the species manages to return to the same overwintering spots over a gap of several generations is still a subject of research; the flight patterns appear to be inherited, based on a combination of the position of the sun in the sky and a time-compensated Sun compass that depends upon a circadian clock that is based in their antennae. New research has also shown that Monarch butterflies can use the earth's magnetic field for orientation. The antennae contain cryptochrome a photoreceptor protein that is sensitive to the violet-blue part of the spectrum. In the presence of violet or blue light it can function as a chemical compass, which tells the animal if it is aligned with the earths magnetic field, but it is unable to tell the difference between the magnetic North or South. The complete magnetical sense is present in a single antenna.

Monarch butterflies are one of the few insects capable of making trans-Atlantic crossings. They are becoming more common in Bermuda due to increased usage of milkweed as an ornamental plant in flower gardens. Monarch butterflies born in Bermuda remain year round due to the island's mild climate. A few monarchs turn up in the far southwest of Great Britain in years when the wind conditions are right, and have been sighted as far east as Long Bennington. In Australia, Monarchs make limited migrations in cooler areas, but the Blue Tiger butterfly is better known in Australia for its lengthy migration. Monarchs can also be found in New Zealand. On the islands of Hawaii no migrations have been noted.

Monarch butterflies are poisonous or distasteful to birds and mammals because of the presence of cardiac glycosides that are contained in milkweed consumed by the larva. It is thought that the bright colors of larvae and adults function as warning colors. During hibernation monarch butterflies sometimes suffer losses because hungry birds pick through them looking for the butterflies with the least amount of poison, but in the process killing those that they reject.

A recent study examined wing colors of migrating monarchs using computer image analysis and found migrants had darker orange (reddish colored) wings than breeding monarch.

About this shot:
Make: Canon
Model: Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Exposure Time: 1/318
F-Stop: f/4.3
ISO Speed Ratings: 80
Focal Length: 60000/1000 mm
Date Taken: 2011-05-29 15:16
Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average
Flash: Flash did not fire
File Size: 231 kb

CeltickRanger, Alex99, aruntp, PaulLees, siggi, bungbing, vijeeshbabu, mikou, maurydv, marius-secan, Argus, Miss_Piggy, vanda, anel, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2011-06-01 19:10]

Hola Jesus! Que tal ?
Esa linda mariposa es bien conocida aquí en mi tierra. Tu lograstes una bela foto , muy artistica con ricos colores y una excelente nitideza.La composicion está perfecta. Te lo felicito y agradesco por compartir.
Un abrazo desde Brasil!

PS: gracias por tu amable comentário en mi última foto.

Hello Jesús

Beautifully composed butterfly photo
with a very fine POV and framing,
beautiful soft light and color tones,
excellent focus sharpness and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-06-01 19:26]

Hi Jesus.
It is difficult to imagine more pleasant scene that this one. Both butterfly and twigs with nice leaves create an amazing composition. BG is also very delicate and nice. Simply great exposure of the image, details of the main subject. Composition is spot on too. Bravo. Well done.

Hola Jesús

Una estupena imagen de esta preciosa Monarca, este animalito por aqui no hay, o por lo menos yo no he visto, solo la veo en documentales. Fantastica imagen y un buen POV.

Un saludo de Antonio

Very pleasant image to view and truly great inspiration for the butterfly lovers around, friend Jesus! Hm ..this camera of yours can produce really spectacular depth of field! .....not bad for a Sunday afternoon, after work! ...you are saying, but let me continue ... that can be a great achievement even for well rested theater ticket seller on a Monday morning !!! Great clarity, the most spectacular neutral background ever seen and green colors to die for ... hm how did you do that ...after ..work on a Sunday afternoon ???
Gorge Veltchev

Perfectly composed, excellent point of view, beautiful colours and detail. regards yiannis

wonderful species great photograph with all perfection. wonderful background

Hi Jesus,

Very nice image of this fine Butterfly, fabulous sharpness with impact and great detail, lovely natural colours, top draw stuff here Jesus and well dons,
Best Regards,


Ciao Jesus. Un ottmo POV con magnifica luce e brillantezza dei colori. Eccellente profondità di campo. Bello lo sfondo.


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-06-02 1:10]

Hello Jesus,
awesome capture of this exotic beauty. The POV, DOF, details and composition are all wonderful.
Best regards Siggi

Hello Jesus,
A beautiful image of butterfly, Wonderful sharp details and beautiful light that brings out the beautiful colours of the butterfly that stand out very well against the background, very well captured!
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day,
Best Regards,

Wonderful shot. Lovely depth of colour. clear and sharp.Good light and composition. Well done.

Ciao Jesus, gran bella la Monarca, da qualche tempo è fissa anche in Italia questa grande migratrice, ottima macro, perfetta messa a fuoco e bei colori natuirali, bravissimo, ciao Silvio

Beautiful photo Jesus! The POV, the composition, the colours, and the sharpness are excellent.

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2011-06-02 7:01]

Hi Jesus.
I love this composition very much. Simple and impressive. Light and colors are amazing. A monochrome BG works perfectly here. Very well done.
Thanks and best regards

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2011-06-02 7:08]

Hello Jesus,
Another very beautiful photo in splendid clarity and awesome colours. Great sharpness, details and perfect composition. Excellent DOF and blurred BG.

Ciao Jesus,
che meravigliosa composizione per questa stupenda farfalla dai colori luminosi e perfettamente contrastati, ottima nitidezza, bellissima immagine
GRazie e complimenti
Ciao Maurizio

Hello Jesus,
Incredible razor sharp capture with outstanding clarity, focus, colors and contrast. It is a masterpiece.
Superb background and exceptional clarity.
Thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2011-06-02 8:00]

Hello Jesús,
A fine specimen of D. plexippus, the closed-wing pose being captured in a superb way from an ideal POV with top shapness and natural colours against a neutral BG and the composition couldn't be better.
You were lucky to find this species and you took the opportunity with both hands!
Thanks and best regards,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-06-02 8:27]

Hi Jesus,a spectacular composition at the top of quality,impressive sharpness,focus and colors and a very nice gray on background,perfect to contrast the colorfull monarch.Very well done,have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

hello Jesus
great sharpness and with good details
very nice pose with great BG
the colours are beautiful
greeting lou

Hallo Jesus
The Monarch butterfly is indeed a beauty and how lovely is the position in which you have captured it. The colours in the whole image is beautiful and the overall presentation so pleasant. Your image is super sharp. You are a great photographer that knows how to handle your equipment and bring forth the best with your camera. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Suave contraluz con un resultado en los contrastes precioso.
Buen equilibrio y bien compuesta. Colres encantadores.
Otra foto de Jesús con un duende especial.

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2011-06-02 14:05]

Ciao Jesus!
Splendida composizione, con un super sfondo! Bellissima la farfalla, ripresa da un ottimo POV.
Eccellente messa a fuoco totale.
Ottima anche la presentazione.
Ciao e buon W/E! Vanda

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-06-03 2:21]

Bonjour Jesus,
The grey wall of your mother's house was the ideal background, Jesus. And the fine green vegetation in the left corner makes the shot look very poetical. The visit of this striking butterfly was a gift and all together allowed you to make this fine and attractive shot. Sometimes luck gives you rendez-vous!
Thanks also to have appreciated my last flower-picture.
Kind regards

Hola amigo Jesús,
Not bad, as you said... Almost perfect, I'd say! The simple grey background fits very well to the colorful butterfly and the few, but partially sharp greenery. Very nice DoF also as usual from you... Dear friend, you should photograph more just after you finished your daily work. :) Eye-catching, superb job. Bravo.
Friendly regards and hugs, László

wonderful butterfly ! perfect picture, excellent details, colors and compo !

have a nice day Jesus !

ciao, tino

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