Butterfly Atlas Species Accounts

Butterfly Atlas data collected from 1986-1990


Danaus gilippus




Wingspan: 3 3 3/8". Superficially resembles the Monarch, but may be told by chestnut coloration and double row of white spots crossing apex and outer edge of forewings. Florida populations of the Viceroy are similarly colored but do not occur in our area.


Southern California east to Florida and southern Georgia, and south through the West Indies and Central America to Argentina. Strays and occasionally colonizes northward to Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, and the Midwest. There is a single New England record.

Status in Massachusetts

Vagrant, with one Massachusetts record from Martha‘ s Vineyard, recorded by Kimball and Jones as follows: "of this southern species an example in good condition was captured on the shore of Lambert‘s Cove, July 8, 1934, by two grandsons of Major General George W. Goethals, and brought by them in fresh condition to Llewellyn W. Cleveland, Vineyard Haven, in whose collection it is preserved."

Flight Period in Massachusetts

Emigrants in the eastern United States normally appear in August, but occasionally at other times (Opler and Krizek).

Larval Food Plants

Milkweeds are the larval hosts.

Adult Food Sources

Information for this species in Massachusetts is currently unavailable.


A variety of open habitats where milkweeds occur.

Life Cycle

Species does not reproduce in Massachusetts.

Account Author

Richard K. Walton

Additional Information

Read more on this species at the North American Butterfly Association.