Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

Species Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Monarch, Wanderer




Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia

Extra Distribution Information

Extralimital distribution—Nearctic Region, Neotropical Region, Oriental Region, Palaearctic Region, occurs widely in the Australian Region, Pacific Ils, New Zealand, Indonesia and New Guinea, native to Nearctic and Neotropical Regions, has spread into the Australian Region with introduced foodplants.

Note that conversion of the original AFD map of states, drainage basins and coastal and oceanic zones to IBRA and IMCRA regions may have produced errors. The new maps will be reviewed and corrected as updates occur. The maps may not indicate the entire distribution. See further details below.
IBRA and IMCRA regions (map not available)
drainage basins and coastal and oceanic zones (map not available)


ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic, WA: Australian Alps (AA), Avon Wheatbelt (AW), Brigalow Belt North (BBN), Brigalow Belt South (BBS), Ben Lomond (BEL), Broken Hill Complex (BHC), Burt Plain (BRT), Carnarvon (CAR), Channel Country (CHC), Central Kimberley (CK), Central Mackay Coast (CMC), Cobar Peneplain (CP), Central Ranges (CR), Cape York Peninsula (CYP), Desert Uplands (DEU), Dampierland (DL), Darling Riverine Plains (DRP), Einasleigh Uplands (EIU), Esperance Plains (ESP), Eyre Yorke Block (EYB), Finke (FIN), Flinders Lofty Block (FLB), Flinders (FLI), Gascoyne (GAS), Gawler (GAW), Geraldton Sandplains (GS), Gulf Plains (GUP), Great Victoria Desert (GVD), Jarrah Forest (JF), Kanmantoo (KAN), King (KIN), MacDonnell Ranges (MAC), Mallee (MAL), Murray Darling Depression (MDD), Mitchell Grass Downs (MGD), Mount Isa Inlier (MII), Mulga Lands (ML), Murchison (MUR), Nandewar (NAN), Naracoorte Coastal Plain (NCP), New England Tablelands (NET), Northern Kimberley (NK), NSW North Coast (NNC), NSW South Western Slopes (NSS), Nullarbor (NUL), Ord Victoria Plain (OVP), Pilbara (PIL), Riverina (RIV), Sydney Basin (SB), South East Coastal Plain (SCP), South East Corner (SEC), South Eastern Highlands (SEH), South Eastern Queensland (SEQ), Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields (SSD), Stony Plains (STP), Swan Coastal Plain (SWA), Tasmanian Central Highlands (TCH), Tasmanian Northern Midlands (TNM), Tasmanian Northern Slopes (TNS), Tasmanian South East (TSE), Tasmanian Southern Ranges (TSR), Tasmanian West (TWE), Victoria Bonaparte (VB), Victorian Midlands (VM), Victorian Volcanic Plain (VVP), Warren (WAR), Wet Tropics (WT), Yalgoo (YAL)

Other Regions

Lord Howe Island terrestrial & freshwater, Norfolk Island terrestrial & freshwater

Original AFD Distribution Data

Australian Region

  • Australia
    • Australian Capital Territory
    • Lord Howe Island
    • New South Wales: Murray-Darling basin, SE coastal
    • Norfolk Island
    • Northern Territory: Lake Eyre basin
    • Queensland: Murray-Darling basin, N Gulf, NE coastal
    • South Australia: Lake Eyre basin, Murray-Darling basin, S Gulfs, SE coastal, W plateau
    • Tasmania
    • Victoria: Murray-Darling basin, SE coastal
    • Western Australia: N coastal, NW coastal, SW coastal

Nearctic Region

Neotropical Region

Oriental Region

Palaearctic Region

Ecological Descriptors

Larva: herbivore (associated flora: Gomphocarpus cancellatus (Burm. f.) Bruyns [ASCLEPIADACEAE] Broad-leaved Cottonbush; Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton [APOCYNACEAE] Giant Calotrope; Araujia hortorum E.Fourn. [ASCLEPIADACEAE] Mothvine; Gomphocarpus fruticosus (L.) W.T.Aiton [APOCYNACEAE] Narrowleaf Cottonbush; Stapelia variegata L. [ASCLEPIADACEAE]; Asclepias curassavica L. [ASCLEPIADACEAE]; Asclepias physocarpa Schltr. [ASCLEPIADACEAE]; Asclepias sp. [ASCLEPIADACEAE]; Stapelia grandiflora Masson [ASCLEPIADACEAE]).

Extra Ecological Information

All known larval food plants are introduced.


General References

Ackery, P.R. & Vane-Wright, R.I. 1984. Milkweed Butterflies their Cladistics and Biology being an account of the natural history of the Danainae, a subfamily of the Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae. London : British Museum (Natural History) 425 pp. [201] (detailed biology and taxonomy)

Common, I.F.B. & Waterhouse, D.F. 1981. Butterflies of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson xiv 682 pp. 49 pls. [302] (biology)

Dunn, K.L. & Dunn, L.E. 1991. Review of Australian Butterflies: distribution, life history and taxonomy. Family Nymphalidae. Melbourne : K. & L. Dunn Vol. 4 513-660 pp. [513]

Fruhstorfer, H. 1910. The Indo-Australian Rhopalocera. [Danaidae]. pp. 192-215 in Seitz, A. (ed.). The Macrolepidoptera of the World: a systematic description of the hitherto known macrolepidoptera. Stuttgart : Alfred Kernen Vol. 9 1197 pp. [192] (biology)

James, D.G. 1982. A transient non-breeding population of Danaus plexippus (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) near Picton, New South Wales. Australian Entomological Magazine 8(6): 96-99 [96] (included bibliography)

James, D.G. 1982. Ovarian dormancy in Danaus plexippus (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) — oligopause not diapause. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 21: 31-35 [31] (included bibliography)

James, D.G. 1984. Migration and clustering phenology of Danaus plexippus (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in Australia. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 23: 199-204 [199] (included bibliography)

James, D.G. 1986. Studies on the migration of Danaus plexippus (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in the Sydney area. Australian Entomological Magazine 13(1, 2): 27-31 [27] (included bibliography)

James, D.G. 1988. Migration and behaviour of non-reproductive Danaus plexippus (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales. Australian Entomological Magazine 15(1): 25-30 [25] (includes bibliography)

Malcolm, S.B. & Zalucki, M.P. (eds) 1993. The Biology of Conservation of the Monarch Butterfly. Los Angeles : Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County xii 419 pp. [1] (detailed biology)

Miller, L.D. & Brown, F.M. 1981. A Catalogue/Checklist of the Butterflies of America North of Mexico. Memoir No. 2. Florida : Lepidopterists' Society vii 280 pp. [204]

Urquhart, F.A. 1960. The Monarch Butterfly. Toronto : University of Toronto Press 361 pp. [1] (detailed biology)

Waterhouse, G.A. & Lyell, G. 1914. The Butterflies of Australia: a monograph of the Australian Rhopalocera introducing a complete scheme of structural classification, and giving descriptions and illustrations of all the butterflies found in Australia, including a number now recorded for the first time. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 239 pp. 38 pls + 3 unnumbered colour pls. [Date published 25 July 1914] [16, 17] (as Danaida archippus Fabricius, 1793 and as Danaida plexippus Linnaeus, 1758, description, distribution)

Zalucki, M.P. & Kitching, R.L. 1982. Dynamics of oviposition in Danaus plexippus (Insecta: Lepidoptera) on milkweed, Asclepias spp. Journal of Zoology, London 198: 103-116 [103] (included bibliography)


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
04-Feb-2023 PAPILIONOIDEA 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED Dr Michael Braby (ANU)
13-May-2022 PAPILIONOIDEA 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED Dr Michael Braby
26-Feb-2021 PAPILIONOIDEA 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED Dr Michael Braby
04-Jun-2020 PAPILIONOIDEA 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED Dr Michael Braby
13-Dec-2017 Danaini 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED
04-Jun-2020 NYMPHALIDAE Rafinesque, 1815 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED
06-Sep-2017 PAPILIONOIDEA 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED
01-Feb-2016 Danaini 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED
05-Mar-2013 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED
30-Mar-2012 22-Dec-2023 MODIFIED
27-Apr-2011 27-Apr-2011 MOVED
05-Apr-2011 MOVED