Ecological Services
Conserving the Nature of America in the Southwest Region
Southwest Region USFWS facebook page Southwest Region USFWS page Southwest region USFWS Flikr page USFWS YouTube site
monarch butterfly on flower
Enjoy Beautiful Monarch Butterflies in the Southwest Region  


Save the Monarch

Of Interest

Citizen Science Workshops - Monarchs in the Southwest
Additional Monarch Resources
Monarch Joint Venture Partnering Publications
Migration map
Monarch Documents
Pollinators in Natural Areas (.PDF)
North American Monarch Conservation Plan
(.PDF, 5.7 Mb)
Articles in the Press
$3.3M Awarded from NFWF Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund

NFWF Conservation Fund for Monarch Grant Slate (.PDF)
Monarch Butterfly Program Expands - Las Vegas Optic
NFWF Conservation Fund for Monarchs Press Release
Interstate 35 a Road to Salavation for the Monarch?
Butterflies Have Vanished:
Read the article
monarch on sunflower
Monarch butterfly on sunflower. Photo credit: USFWS.

The monarch butterfly is found throughout the Southwest Region. Texas and Oklahoma are in the core of the migratory flyway for the Eastern Monarch Population. These states are crucial for the 1st generation of monarchs migrating from central Mexico in the spring and flying as far north as Canada. Arizona plays a role in providing habitat for the Western Monarch Population, which is the same species of monarch, but overwinters in trees along the coast of California, and possibly down in to Mexico. New Mexico also hosts monarchs, particularly in wetter years, but most reliably along riparian areas. Because the largest numbers of monarchs typically occur in Texas and secondarily Oklahoma, many conservation actions will be prioritized for these states at this time. The geography of the Southwest Region invites consideration of monarch populations in habitat management, collaborations with Mexico and Tribal cultures, and the preservation of native milkweed diversity in habitat restoration efforts.

North American monarch butterflies are in trouble. Threats, including loss of native milkweed that they need to lay their eggs and for food, are having a devastating impact on their populations and migration. Unless we act now to help the monarch, this amazing animal could disappear in our lifetime.

Enjoy images of beautiful butterflies of the Southwest! 
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Monarch Funded Projects
Monarch butterfly lands on an aster. Photo credit: USFWS.

We can save the monarch, but it will take a concerted national effort. Every backyard can become an oasis for monarchs (and other pollinators) — even in cities. Schools, youth and community groups, businesses, and state and local governments can engage in planting native milkweed and protecting monarch habitat along roadsides, rights of way, and other public and private lands. Rural landowners and members of the ranching and farming communities play an important role in this endeavor, and many are already engaged in land management practices compatible with pollinators and monarchs. By enlisting a broad group of partners, from school children to CEOs, we will build a connected conservation constituency.

Projects supported by the Southwest Region include the launching of the Texas and Oklahoma Pollinators and Monarch Partnership (TOPMOP) to promote outreach in both states; habitat improvement projects; Grassland Restoration & Enhancement Program (GRIP) collaborations; seed projects in Texas and Oklahoma; and projects that engage citizen science milkweed seed collecting; and monitoring, and research in the community. Engaging youth and communities is a top priority in the Region, and monarch conservation projects provide a unique and historical opportunity to engage communities, especially young people, in conservation.

Monarch Fall and Spring Migration Map




Fun Facts with a Link to more information, click on the tabs below.

  • Butterfly
  • American
    Painted Lady
  • Zebra
  • Monarch

  • Milkweed
  • Butterfly
  • Guava
  • Purple
    Cone Flower
  • Education

Butterfly Facts    

map of the southwest region

Click on the map to visit the Southwest Region homepage..





Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly

Butterflies can be seen on every national wildlife refuge in the Southwest Region.  They, along with many other pollinators such as honey bees, play a vital role in our everyday lives.  They help provide much of the food that we eat, pollinating nearly 75% of our crops! But in the United States, pollinators, including many butterfly species, are in steep decline due to loss of habitat, urban sprawl, pesticide use, and weather extremes.  Throughout this Special Edition you will find a variety of ways you can help save butterflies! 

Learn about Pollinators.

American Painted Lady butterfly    
American painted lady butterfly on a pearl crescent  



This medium-sized butterfly can cover a lot of ground, up to 100 miles per day during their migration. A painted lady is capable of reaching a speed of nearly 30 miles per hour.

Learn more about the American painted lady butterfly


Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly    
Zebra swallowtail butterfly  





This butterfly comes by its name naturally, it has stripes like a zebra and tailed wings like swallows.

Learn more about the Zebra swallowtail butterfly: 

Monarch Butterfly    
monarch sits on a pink flower  

Fun Facts:




In spring, it takes the monarch three to four generations to migrate from Mexico to the northern U.S. and Canada.  It is the last generation that returns to Mexico in the fall to spend the winter.

Learn more about the Monarch butterfly

Butterfly Gardens    
Service employee plants a butterfly garden  





Even small areas of habitat can help save butterflies and other pollinators!  You can create a garden at your school, community center, local park and even in your own backyard.

Learn more about butterfly gardens

Guava Skipper    
Guava Skipper butterfly Paul Garza  





It seems like this butterfly loves to be photographed!  Adults will often remain on flowers for long periods of time offering good photo opportunities.

Learn more about the Guava Skipper butterfly

Purple Cornflower    
Purple cornflower provides food for pollinators  





This flower and many other flowering plants provide food for butterflies giving them the energy to migrate and reproduce. 

Learn more about the Purple cornflower


Butterfly Education    
Accessibility butterfly garden at Trinity River NWR  




Many national wildlife refuges in the Southwest Region have butterfly or pollinator gardens.  Visiting a refuge is great way to see a variety of different butterflies and to learn more about them!

Learn more about butterflies by visiting a Southwest Region National Wildlife Refuge.  

Learn more about all pollinators in the Southwest.

Last updated: August 8, 2016