Danaus erippus

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Danaus erippus
Nymphalidae - Danaus erippus.JPG
Danaus erippus from Peru
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Tribe: Danaini
Genus: Danaus
Species: D. erippus
Binomial name
Danaus erippus
(Cramer, 1775)
  • Papilio erippus Cramer, 1775
  • Limnas plexippe Hübner, 1812
  • Anosia menippe Hübner, 1816
  • Anosia erippe Hübner, 1816
  • Anosia synippe Hübner, 1821
  • Danais archippus var. brasiliensis Capronnier, 1874
  • Papilio vulgaris Larrañaga, 1923
  • Danais erippus ab. larensis Köhler, 1929

Danaus erippus, common name southern monarch, is a butterfly belonging to the "crows and tigers", (referring to the orange and black pattern) i.e, the danaine group of the brush-footed butterflies family. Close relatives include the Monarch (D. plexippus) and the Queen (D. gilippus).


Danaus erippus has a wingspan reaching about 110 millimetres (4.3 in), with an easily recognizable orange and black pattern. Until 2007, this butterfly has been treated as a subspecies of the monarch sister species Danaus plexippus. In effect, they are very similar, but D. erippus usually has an orange trailing edge of the forewings, while in D. plexippus it is black. The lineages of the two species are thought to have separated about 2 million years ago.[1] The colour of the wings in males of the southern monarch is paler than in the females.

Larvae feed on Araujia sericifera, Araujia hortorum, Asclepias curassavica, Asclepias barjoniifolia, Morrenia odorata and Oxypetalum coeruleum.

Similarly to D. plexippus, D. erippus exhibits migratory behavior. Also, these butterflies fly south in the autumn towards colder latitudes for the wintering.


This species can be found in tropical and subtropical latitudes of South America, mainly in Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and southern Peru.


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