Danaus gilippus thersippus

Beginner Rearing Instructions:  Click here

Photo Life History: Danaus gilippus thersippus

Habitat:  Agricultural Areas; Valley Wet Meadows; Valley Lakes & Rivers; Desert Washes; Lower Sonoran Desert; Urban-Suburban

Host Plants:  Asclepias speciosa; Asclepias subulata (Several other species of milkweed.)

Suitable Lab Host Plants: Asclepias spp.

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Feed females regularly.

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Open Screen Cages

How to Find Eggs: Look on Flower Stems; Isolated Host Plants  (Finding eggs and caterpillars can be easy in areas where the adult butterflies are abundant; but the host plants are not overly plentiful.)

How to Hatch Eggs:  Separate eggs individually (Young queen caterpillars are cannibalistic against other eggs it might encounter.)

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field:  Look for Caterpillar Strip Patterns

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums; Open Bucket  (*Note:  Queen caterpillars can feed together; but, this species turns aggressively cannibalistic if provided with too little host plant.  Provide your caterpillars with plenty of host plant so that they don't turn and feed on each other.  The most vulnerable stages of cannibalism is when an immature is defenseless--specifically when it is an ovum, when a caterpillar is set to molt, set to pupate, or pupa.)

Larva to Pupa:  Caterpillar silks to leaf or twig; creates and attaches cremaster; hanging as a J before pupating.

How to Find Pupae in the Field: Not generally productive.  Sometimes monarchs will pupate on host plant.

Number of Broods per Year: 2-4 depending upon location.

Overwintering Stage:  Adult.

Overwintering Strategies: Adults migrate.

Post-Hibernation Strategies:

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:

Disease Prevention:  Because of OE, it is advisable to soak ova in bleach solution or spray down with Lysol.  Sanitation occurs within 30 seconds.  Change out host plant and remove frass every three to five days. 

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes: