Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus, photographed by Kenneth Harrelson.

Belongs within: Danaini.

Danaus is a diverse genus of butterflies whose larvae feed on species of milkweed Asclepias.

Characters (from Bingham 1905): Fore wing triangular, costa widely arched, apex broadly rounded; termen below apex straight or slightly concave; dorsum straight ; discoidal cell long, well over half length of wing; upper discocellular short, inclined obliquely inwards, middle curved inwards, lower curved outwards; rest of venation variable, veins 10 and 11 free, or 11 anastomosed with 12, or 10 out of 9. Hind wing generally pear-shaped; discoidal cell more than half length of wing; venation variable; discocellulars more or less in a line inclined obliquely outwards, or middle bent in two at a right angle, or upper and middle in a line, lower bent at an angle downwards; vein 3 always from before apex of cell. Antennae less than half length of fore wing; club very gradual; palpi erect, short, barely reaching top of head, third joint short; eyes naked; legs moderately long, scaled; claws of intermediate and posterior tarsi long, without paronychia or pulvilli. Male with secondary sex-marks present or absent; when present taking two forms, consisting of (1) a small fold near base of vein 2 on hind wing; or (2) patches of peculiar scent-producing scales near apices of veins 1a, 1, and 2 on hind wing, with a thickening of veins 1a and 1 where they pass through the patch. Larva subcylindrical, with two or three pairs of non-retractile tentacula. Pupa comparatively broad, ovate, contracted medially, green, waxy white, or yellow, spotted and banded with black, golden yellow and silver; sometimes entirely of a shining golden yellow.

<==Danaus Latreille 1805 [=Danaida, Danais] B66a
    |--D. abigar (Eschscholtz 1821) [=Idea abigar] B66c
    |--D. affinis [=Papilio affinis; incl. D. cecilia Bougainville 1837] B66a
    |--D. aglea (Cramer 1782) [=Papilio aglea] B66a
    |--D. agleoides B66a
    |--D. albata (Zinken-Sommer 1831) [=Euploea albata, D. ablata (l. c.)] B66a
    |--D. alcippus (Cramer 1777) [=Papilio alcippus, Euploea alcippus; incl. E. dorippus Klug 1829] B66a
    |--D. anapis Felder 1861 B66a
    |--D. archippus (Fabricius 1793) FS54, B66a [=Papilio archippus B66a, Anosia archippus B66a]
    |--D. arema B66a
    |--D. artenice (Cramer 1782) [=Papilio artenice, Euploea artenice] B66a
    |--D. australis B66a
    |--D. azema B66a
    |--D. berenice (Cramer 1779) [=Papilio berenice, Anosia berenice] B66a
    |    |--D. b. berenice B66a
    |    |--D. b. strigosa Bates 1864 B66a
    |    `--D. b. thersippus Bates 1863 B66a
    |--D. ceylanica Felder 1863 B66c
    |--D. chionippe [=Euploea chionippe] B66b
    |--D. chloris Felder 1861 B66c [incl. Danais salvini Butler 1866 B66c, B66b]
    |--D. choaspes Butler 1866 [=Danais choaspes] B66a
    |--D. chrysippus (Linnaeus 1767) B66a (see below for synonymy)
    |--D. cleona (Cramer 1782) [=Papilio cleona] B66a
    |--D. cleophile Godart 1819 B66a
    |--D. cleothera Godart 1819 B66a
    |--D. conspicua Butler 1866 [=Danais conspicua] B66a
    |--D. crocea Butler 1866 [=Danais crocea] B66a
    |--D. damocles (Fabricius 1793) [=Papilio damocles, Euploea damocles] B66a
    |--D. daos (Boisduval 1836) [=Idea daos, Hestia daos, Ideopsis daos; incl. H. eudora Gray 1846] B66a
    |    |--D. d. daos B66a
    |    `--D. d. diardi (Van der Hoeven 1860) [=Idea diardi] B66a
    |--D. daulis B66a
    |--D. echeria (Stoll 1790) (see below for synonymy) B66a
    |--D. egialea (Cramer 1777) [=Papilio egialea, Amauris egialea] B66a
    |--D. eresimus (Cramer 1777) [=Papilio eresimus, Anosia eresima] B66a
    |--D. erippus (Cramer 1775) B66a (see below for synonymy)
    |--D. fulgurata Butler 1866 [=Danais fulgurata] B66a
    |--D. fumata Butler 1866 [=Danais fumata] B66a
    |--D. gaura (Horsfield 1829) [=Idea gaura, Hestia gaura, Ideopsis gaura] B66a
    |--D. gilippus (Cramer 1775) (see below for synonymy) B66a
    |--D. gloriola Butler 1866 [=Danais gloriola] B66a
    |--D. grammica Boisduval 1836 B66a
    |--D. hecate Butler 1866 [=Danais hecate] B66a
    |--D. hermippus Felder in Butler 1866 B66b
    |--D. inuncta Butler 1865 B66a
    |--D. ismare (Cramer 1780) B66a (see below for synonymy)
    |--D. jamaicensis Bates 1864-1865 B66c, B66a [=D. berenice var. jamaicensis B66a, D. gilippus jamaicensis B66a]
    |--D. juventa (Cramer 1779) [=Papilio juventa, Hestia juventa] B66c
    |--D. leonora Butler 1866 [=Danais leonora] B66a
    |--D. leopardus Butler 1866 [=Danais leopardus] B66a
    |--D. limniacae (Cramer 1775) [=Papilio limniacae; incl. Euploea hamata M’Leay 1827] B66a
    |--D. lixa B66a
    |--D. lotis (Cramer 1780) [=Papilio lotis; incl. D. edmondi Bougainville 1837, Hestia thoe Hübner 1816] B66a
    |--D. lutescens Butler 1866 B66b
    |--D. luzonensis Felder 1863 B66a
    |--D. manuja (Eschscholtz 1821) [=Idea manuja] B66c
    |--D. meganira Godart 1819 B66a
    |--D. melaneus (Cramer 1775) [=Papilio melaneus] B66a
    |--D. melanippus (Cramer 1777) (see below for synonymy) B66a
    |--D. melissa (Cramer 1782) [=Papilio melissa] B66a
    |--D. mitylene Felder 1860 B66c [incl. Danais pullata Butler 1866 B66c, B66a]
    |--D. nerippe B66a
    |--D. nesippus Felder 1863 B66c
    |--D. niavius (Linnaeus 1767) [=Papilio niavius, Amauris niavius, Euploea niavius] B66a
    |--D. nubila Butler 1866 B66b
    |--D. ochlea B66b
    |--D. petilia (Stoll 1790) B66a [=Papilio petilia B66a, D. chrysippus petilia PP02]
    |--D. phaedon (Fabricius 1793) [=Papilio phaedon, Euploea phaedon] B66a
    |--D. philene (Cramer 1782) [=Papilio philene, Euploea philene] B66a
    |--D. philomela (Zinken-Sommer 1831) B66c, B66a [=Euploea philomela B66a]
    |--D. phyle Felder 1863 B66a [incl. Danais erebus Butler 1866 B66c, B66a]
    |--D. plexaure Godart 1819 B66a
    |--D. plexippus (Linnaeus 1767) [=Papilio plexippus, Euploea plexippus; incl. P. genutia Cramer 1780] B66a
    |--D. pumila Boisduval 1859 B66c [incl. Danais mariana Butler 1865 B66c, B66a]
    |--D. purpurata Butler 1866 [=Danais purpurata] B66a
    |--D. schenkii B66a
    |--D. similis (Linnaeus 1758) B66a (see below for synonymy)
    |--D. sobrina Boisd. 1832 B66a
    |--D. tytia (Gray 1846) [=Euploea tytia, D. tita] B66a
    |--D. verissimus (Cramer 1772) [=Anosia verissimus] FS54
    |--D. vitrea [incl. D. oenopia Felder 1859] B66a
    |--D. vitrina Felder 1861 B66a [incl. Danais oenone Butler 1865 B66c, B66a]
    `--D. xanthippus B66b

Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus 1767) B66a [=Papilio chrysippus B66a, Euploea chrysippus B66a; incl. P. aegyptius B66a, Danais cratippus Felder 1860 B66c]

Danaus echeria (Stoll 1790) [=Papilio echeria, Amauris echeria, Euploea echeria; incl. Danais vaillantiana Godart 1819] B66a

Danaus erippus (Cramer 1775) B66a [=Papilio erippus B66a, Anosia erippe B66a; incl. A. megalippe Hübn. 1806-1827 B66a, Idea plexippus Eschscholtz 1821 non Papilio plexippus Linnaeus 1767 B66c]

Danaus gilippus (Cramer 1775) [=Anosia gilippus; incl. Limnas ferruginea vincetoxici Hübner 1806-1827, Anosia vincetoxici] B66a

Danaus ismare (Cramer 1780) B66a [=Papilio ismare B66a, Hestia ismare B66a; incl. Danais ismareola Butler 1866 B66b, B66a]

Danaus melanippus (Cramer 1777) [=Papilio melanippus; incl. P. hegesippus Cramer 1779, Danais hegesippus, Euploea hegesippus] B66a

Danaus similis (Linnaeus 1758) B66a [=Papilio similis B66a; incl. P. aventina Cramer 1775 B66a, Danais aventina B66a, Danais similis var. chinensis Felder 1863 B66c]

*Type species of generic name indicated


Bingham, C. T. 1905. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Butterflies vol. 1. Taylor and Francis: London.

[B66a] Butler, A. G. 1866a. Monograph of the diurnal Lepidoptera belonging to the genus Danais, being a revision of the insects of that genus, with descriptions of new species in the National Collection. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 43-59.

[B66b] Butler, A. G. 1866b. Supplement to a monograph of the genus Danais, founded on specimens in the collection of Mr. Osbert Salvin. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 171-175.

[B66c] Butler, A. G. 1866c. Corrections and addenda to certain papers on Lepidoptera published during the years 1865-66; with additional notes on some of the species described. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 451-458.

[FS54] Franz, E., & H. Schröder. 1954. Tagfalter (Lep. Rhopalocera) aus El Salvador. Senckenbergiana Biologica 35: 75-87.

[PP02] Patrick, B., & H. Patrick. 2002. Butterflies of Fiji. Weta 24: 5-12.

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