Author Archives: davidallio

Nymphalidae Danaus plexippus Monarch butterfly St Marks National Wildlife Reserve Florida Americana Collection

Monarch butterfly – Americana Collection

“A buttefly’s range depends more on the availability of host plants for larvae than on nectar plants for adults, so protecting larval hosts is a higher priority for butterfly conservation than is protecting the nectar plants that appear in many butterfly gardens.”1

Although studies are inconclusive, it is suggested that the Monarch butterflies Danaus plexippus found at St Marks National Wildlife Reserve on the Gulf Coast of Florida are on a migratory path to winter in Mexico.


camera: Nikon D500 | lens: AF Nikkor VR 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC14E III
focal length: 420mm | exposure: f/5.6 – 1/3200 – ISO 500


1Harvey, Rebecca G, et al. “Native Habitats for Monarch Butterflies in South Florida.” Native Habitats for Monarch Butterflies in South Florida, IFAS Extension University of Florida, June 2018, edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/UW/UW31100.pdf.

Nymphalidae Danaus plexippus Monarch butterfly St Marks National Wildlife Reserve Florida Americana Collection

Monarch butterfly – Americana Collection

“Urban and suburban development is eliminating monarch habitat by supplanting agricultural landscapes where an estimated 90% of milkweeds occur. The increasing use of herbicides in agriculture is also leading to milkweed loss. The widespread use of genetically modified crops, such as herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans, exacerbates the problem because it enables growers to indiscriminately spray their fields with herbicides rather than tilling to control weeds. The organization Monarch Watch estimates that the adoption of genetically modified crops has led to the loss of more than 80 million acres of monarch habitat. Along roadsides, the ubiquitous use of herbicides and frequent mowing are also killing milkweeds and hence eliminating vital monarch habitat.”1
This Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus is feeding on a Christmasberry Lycium carolinianum near the shoreline of St Marks National Wildlife Reserve in Florida.


camera: Nikon D500 | lens: AF Nikkor VR 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC14E III
focal length: 420mm | exposure: f/5.6 – 1/6400 – ISO 500


1Harvey, Rebecca G, et al. “Native Habitats for Monarch Butterflies in South Florida.” Native Habitats for Monarch Butterflies in South Florida, IFAS Extension University of Florida, June 2018, edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/UW/UW31100.pdf.

Nymphalidae Danaus plexippus Monarch butterfly St Marks National Wildlife Reserve Florida Americana Collection

Monarch butterfly – Americana Collection

“To develop appropriate habitats for monarchs, we need to move beyond thinking only about particular host species toward a focus on planting native communities. Backyard butterfly garden programs usually do not encourage gardeners to consider nearby plant communities (forests, prairies, or parks) when choosing plants for their gardens. Such programs often promote homogenous plantings and tend to focus on species that have beautiful flowers, attract butterflies, bloom year-round, and require little attention. This often means that they promote nonnative, potentially invasive plant species.”1


camera: Nikon D500 | lens: AF Nikkor VR 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC14E III
focal length: 420mm | exposure: f/5.6 – 1/4000 – ISO 500


1Harvey, Rebecca G, et al. “Native Habitats for Monarch Butterflies in South Florida.” Native Habitats for Monarch Butterflies in South Florida, IFAS Extension University of Florida, June 2018, edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/UW/UW31100.pdf.