Department of Art & Art History

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterflies are the most recognizable in America, migrating between Canada and Mexico during the winter season. The butterfly can be found all over the United States, with a majority living east of the Rocky Mountains. Monarch’s have a variety of habitats for the warm months and the cold, following the milkweed flowers; where they lay their eggs.

Ecological Importance:

  • Pollinator: Feed on many wildflowers
  • Food Source: Monarch butterflies provide food for birds, small animals, and other insects.
  • Indicator Species: The health of the Monarch’s can let us know about the health of our environment.


This winter (2018-19) there has been a shocking drop of our common Monarch butterflies. At the butterfly count there was an 86% drop since last year, according to the “Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.”

To help:

  • Plant milkweeds, though they feed on many flowers, they only lay their eggs on the milkweed.
  • Eliminate or reduce spraying pesticides, neonicotinoids and herbicides near milkweeds, also, avoid buying food products which support the pesticide usage.
  • Reduce our car and factory emissions, emitting high concentrations of carbon dioxide onto milkweeds.
  • Protect nesting sites from logging

Fun Facts:

  • Monarchs have an internal compass, that allows them to go in the correct direction
  • The marking of the skull and crossbones on the butterfly is a warning sign for predators, signaling poison.
  • When the caterpillar hatches, it eats is own eggs
  • The toxins of the milkweed remain in the monarch’s system, even after metamorphosis.

This router is located on the East wall of the Performing Arts Center.