Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

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DISTRIBUTION in North Carolina: Statewide, occurring at some time during the year in all counties. As this is a highly migratory species, it is likely absent from some of these counties during portions of the flight period.
ABUNDANCE in North Carolina: Varied, depending on the time of the year. The species has a noticeable fall migration, as individuals are seen flying in a southwesterly direction, if the winds will allow them to do so. From August to October, they are common to at times very common or abundant in the mountains and along the coast, and often fairly common to common elsewhere. At other times (mainly from mid-April through July) it tends to be uncommon. At any rate, it is generally not commonly seen in the state until August. In 2004, the species seemed to have "crashed" in the eastern US, and it was shockingly scarce, with some veteran observers nearly missing the species completely. Numbers rebounded slightly in 2005, but it is questionable if the species will ever return to numbers seen 5 or more years ago. Fortunately, numbers rebounded strongly in the latter half of 2006.
FLIGHT PERIOD in North Carolina: Several broods across the state, but the species has a complex life history. Generally found from early April, rarely early March, into early November, and sparingly into early January. Many of the individuals seen in September and October are actively migrating toward their wintering grounds (in Mexico?).
Distribution, abundance, flight period, and map information provided by Notes on the Butterflies of North Carolina.
Monarch (Danaus plexippus) 07/19/06 · Alleghany County, NC
Monarch (Danaus plexippus) 09/24/04 · Ashe County, NC · male
Monarch (Danaus plexippus) 08/07/03 · Ashe County, NC · female (freshly emerged)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus) 07/16/06 · Watauga County, NC · mated