Monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, are milkweed butterflies belonging to the family, Nymphalidae. They are the resident butterflies of the Canary Islands in Europe and Madeira, Spain. They have also migrated to Russia, Azores and Sweden.
Monarchs are easily identifiable by their colourful wings. The upper side is a tawny orange, with black veins and margins lined with white spots. Male monarchs can be distinguished from the female by a black patch on their hindwings.
They are famous for their long migratory routes which can extend up to 4,828 km. During fall, monarchs migrate long distances, travelling from Canada to Mexico.
Monarchs have an interesting defense mechanism they are foul to taste and poisonous because of certain chemicals in their bodies. This mechanism is known as aposematism.