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U.S. Forest Service

The Monarch Butterfly in North America

Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is among the most recognized, studied, and loved of all of North America’s insects. Children study monarchs in school. Researchers and citizen scientists track their migration and breeding. Conservationists and government agencies are concerned about threats to breeding, migration, and wintering habitats.

Closeup adult Monarch butterflies congregating on a branch. Monarch butterflies. Photo by Denise Gibbs.

The annual migration cycle of the monarch butterfly has been described as the most spectacular in the insect world, an “endangered natural phenomenon”. This species and its migration are dependent upon conservation of habitats in all three North American countries: Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Awareness of the monarch butterfly’s life cycle and habitat requirements is essential for their survival and an important step in the conservation of this animal. Many government agencies, organizations, and individuals across North America are working on projects to conserve monarch habitats and their migration.

Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) brings together partners from across the United States in a unified effort to conserve the monarch migration. These actions are organized in an annually updated Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan, which serves as a framework to guide conservation planning for individuals, partners, or other interested stakeholders nationally.

North American Pollinator Protection Campaign logo

The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) is a body of more than 160 diverse partners, including respected scientists, researchers, conservationists, government officials and dedicated volunteers. The NAPPC is succeeding with major programs to protect pollinators, to raise pollinator-related issues, and to benefit the health of all species, including the monarch butterfly.

Monarch Brochure

MonarchLIVE wing

Look at our brochure: Monarch Butterfly, North America's Migrating Insect (PDF, 8.4 MB)

See Celebrating Wildflowers News for news about monarch butterflies…