The Monarch Butterfly in North America
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is among the most recognized, studied, and loved of all of North America’s insects. Children study monarchs in school. Researchers and citizen scientists track their migration and breeding. Conservationists and government agencies are concerned about threats to breeding, migration, and wintering habitats.
The annual migration cycle of the monarch butterfly has been described as the most spectacular in the insect world. It has been called an “endangered natural phenomenon”. This species and its migration are dependent upon conservation of habitats in all three North American countries: Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
Awareness of the monarch butterfly’s life cycle and habitat requirements is essential for their survival and an important step in the conservation of this animal. Many government agencies, organizations, and individuals across North America are working on projects to conserve monarch habitats and their migration.
The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) is a partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to support and coordinate efforts to protect the monarch migration across the lower 48 United States. The MJV is committed to a science-based approach to monarch conservation work, guided by the North American Monarch Conservation Plan (2008) (PDF, 5.6 MB).
Federal public land management agencies and the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign are taking an active role in public outreach and conservation by creating pollinator gardens that provide habitat for the monarch butterfly.