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- 2 (also monarch butterfly) a large migratory orange and black butterfly that occurs mainly in North America. The caterpillar feeds on milkweed, using the toxins in the plant to render both itself and the adult unpalatable to predators. Also called milkweed.
- Danaus plexippus, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae
late Middle English: from late Latin monarcha, from Greek monarkhēs, from monos 'alone' + arkhein 'to rule'