|Danaus erippus from Peru|
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. The colour of the wings in males of the southern monarch is paler than in the females.
Similarly to D. plexippus, D. erippus exhibits migratory behavior. Also, these butterflies fly south in the autumn towards colder latitudes for the wintering.
- Brower, A. V. Z.; Jeansonne, M. M. (May 2004). "Geographical Populations and "Subspecies" of New World Monarch Butterflies (Nymphalidae) Share a Recent Origin and Are Not Phylogenetically Distinct". Annals of the Entomological Society of America 97 (3): 519–523. doi:10.1603/0013-8746(2004)097[0519:GPASON]2.0.CO;2.
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