- Provincial Status: Special Concern
- Latin Name: Danaus plexippus
- Life span: 7-8 months (winter generation); 30 days (summer generation)
- Wingspan: 9 to 11 centimetres
- Weight: .27 to .75 grams (.0095 to .026 ounces)
- Migration distance up to 3,600 kilometers to California or Mexico
- Larval host plant: milkweed species
The Monarch is one of North America’s most well recognized butterflies. Their bright orange wings with contrasting jet-black stripes stand out as a familiar symbol of migration. Though we often see many of these beautiful insects starting to make their journey south in the fall, these large numbers are a function of their migratory cycle and Monarch numbers can fluctuate from year to year. Monarchs are listed as Special Concern in Ontario due to the significant reduction in population that has occurred since 1993. Monarch numbers have declined because of a number of factors including high pesticide use, resulting in reduced levels of milkweed, and intensive logging and wood harvesting within the Oyamel Fir Forests of Mexico.
Southern Ontario is identified as a primary management area for Monarchs due to the amount of breeding habitat available and to the large groups of Monarchs that gather along the Great Lakes in migration staging areas. At Wasaga Beach Provincial Park volunteers are trained to capture and tag Monarchs with a small sticker, which researchers use to learn more about how this small insect makes such a long journey.
How can you help?
- Leave Monarch larvae, chrysalides, and adults in their habitats and promote the value of those habitats
- Reduce your pesticide use and help convince others to reduce theirs
- Inform others about Monarchs
- Visit the www.monarchwatch.org website for information on how you can get involved and report any recoveries of Monarchs with tagged wings
- Plant a butterfly garden with species native to your area, including milkweed.
- Contact the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park office (705-429-2516) for information on plants native to this area.