SDNHM Monarca: Butterfly Beyond Boundaries

Selected Monarch and Related Websites

Monarchs | Butterflies in General | For Kids | Gardening | Organizations

Search Tips: When searching using the word "monarch," most search engines give lists of tens of thousands of links. Try using its scientific name, Danaus plexippus, or other combinations of words to narrow your search. Here are some of the best sites on the Internet.



Monarch Watch Home Page - An educational outreach program at the University of Kansas, Monarch Watch is a collaborative network of students, teachers, volunteers, and researchers dedicated to the study of the Monarch butterfly. The site features information on everything from raising Monarchs to migration patterns to conservation issues. This is a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in Monarchs.

Texas Monarch Watch - This Texas Parks & Wildlife web page has some great information on Monarch migration as well as some specifics on the migration through Texas.

Journey North's Monarch Butterfly Site - This interactive site tracks the migration of Monarchs and provides lots of facts about the species. Learn how you can help track the Monarch migration by reporting sightings in your area, and follow the Monarchs' progress on Journey North's weekly migration map. Sightings are updated weekly during the fall and spring seasons.

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Monarch Page - Visit this page for a brief overview of Monarch size, markings, migration and breeding patterns, food sources, habitats, and range.


Butterflies in General

NPWRC Butterflies of North America - Also from the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (see above), this valuable resource features a clickable map of the United States that allows you to view distribution maps, photos and species accounts for North American butterflies by state. Note: to view distribution maps you must click on a species within a state.

Bug Bios Butterfly Wing Patterns - This site is hosted by an insect lover who is also an excellent photographer and web designer. The butterfly wing patterns page offers some exquisite photographs of various species' wings (including Monarchs'), along with extensive information on butterfly and moth wings in general. You can also search the whole site ( for information and photographs of other insects.

Getting into Butterflies - For a more in-depth look at the biology of butterflies, follow this link to a substantial excerpt from Getting into Butterflies by L.J. Orsak, 1977.

Electronic Resources on Lepidoptera - This site, hosted by Chebucto Community Net, a federally registered not-for-profit society based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, features an extensive list of relevant links. Search alphabetically or geographically--there are lots of links to local lepidoptera and butterfly organizations around the world, along with a lepidoptera image archive (click on thumbnails for larger images).


Especially for Kids

Monarch Butterfly - A colorful website with excellent photos and information.

Where do Butterflies Come From? - This site has instructions for a simple, fun arts and crafts project that helps kids learn about the butterfly life cycle.

USGS Children's Butterfly Site - The U.S. Geological Society created this site just for kids. There are printer-friendly coloring pages of the butterfly life cycle, links to more butterfly-related sites, and recommendations for books and videos suitable for young people. USGS also provides Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Dutch translations for many of their most popular pages.


Gardening with Butterflies

Backyard Wildlife Preserve - The San Diego Chapter of the California Native Plant Society collaborated with other groups to create an award-winning demonstration backyard native plant garden at the Del Mar Fair. Designed to attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, these pages provide basic concepts, the garden plan, and a plant list.

The Butterfly Zone - This site provides tips for both urban and rural gardeners on plants that will attract butterflies in your area. Despite the motto on its Butterfly Guide page, "There is more to life than Monarchs," this site does feature information on attracting Monarchs to your garden, along with other popular butterflies. There are also gardening materials available to order.

LA-NABA Home Page - The Los Angeles chapter of the North American Butterfly Association hosts this site, which offers some great information on butterflies in Southern California, including "hot spots" where you can go butterflying and suggestions for L.A. butterfly gardeners. See the Gallery of Southern California Butterflies for dozens of photos of butterflies and their host plants throughout Southern California (click on the thumbnails for larger images).

National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitats: Butterflies - This site offers excellent, "beyond the basics" information on creating b utterfly habitats in your garden, along with some great butterfly facts. Did you know that there are butterflies whose wings span ten inches?

Butterflies and their Larval Foodplants - While butterflies can be attracted to your garden by certain types of flowers, it is also very important to provide food for the larval (caterpillar) stage of development. This site lists the larval foodplants for most of the butterfly species and was created by Peter J. Bryant, a Professor in the Department of Developmental Cell Biology at the University of Irvine. He has also posted some remarkable photographs of Monarchs, among other species.



Lepidopterists' Society - "Butterflies belong to the order Lepidoptera. The word 'Lepidoptera' is derived from the Latin words lepido (meaning 'scale'), and ptera (meaning 'wings'). Thus, Lepidoptera literally means 'scale wings', referring to the minute scale-like structures on the wings of both butterflies and moths, which comprise this order" (from Getting into Butterflies by L.J. Orsak, 1977). This international society is devoted to the study and appreciation of the insect order Lepidoptera, and their site features an excellent, extensive list of related web resources.

Entomological Society of America - ESA is the self-proclaimed largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Their site has information on the society, an extensive abstract index, a kids' corner with activities for children, and a good list of entomological links, including one for insect zoos, museums, and butterfly gardens in North America.

The North American Butterfly Association - NABA is a membership-based not-for-profit organization working to increase public enjoyment and conservation of butterflies. Visit their site for membership information, NABA publications (including Butterfly Gardener), and an excellent Butterfly Q&A that answers such stumpers as, "Do butterflies have a sense of smell?"

Lepidoptera: A Geographical Index - Visit this site for an extensive listing of sites geared toward lepidopterists, entomologists, and plain old butterfly lovers the world over. There are links to clubs and organizations in Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the U.S.

This list was compiled by Christian Manion, guest curator for the Monarca exhibition,
and SDNHM staff. Annotated by Liza Blue.

Monarca | Exhibits