milkweed butterfly

milkweed butterfly


Origin:
1875–80, Americanism

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Encyclopedia Britannica
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milkweed butterfly

any of a group of butterflies in the brush-footed butterfly (q.v.) family, Nymphalidae (order Lepidoptera). Some authorities consider this group to be at the family level (Danaidae). The majority of species are found in both Old and New World tropics. However, some well-known members such as the monarch butterfly (q.v.) and the queen butterfly live in temperate regions. The large, colourful adults have long, usually brownish or orange wings marked by black-and-white patterns. The first pair of legs is small and not used for walking. They fly slowly and deliberately, and some, such as the monarch butterfly, migrate great distances.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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