Monarch Butterfly

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

When many people think of butterflies, they think Monarchs. Monarchs can be found throughout the United States and across Texas. In fact, the Monarch is the official state insect of Texas!

Parts of Texas are on the Monarchs’ migration path including, San Angelo, Texas where I used to live. Every year, usually in October, the numbers of Monarchs begin to increase. For a brief time (three days to a couple of weeks depending on the weather) you can see thousands gathered in various spots around the city.

The best spots in San Angelo to see large groups of Monarchs during the migration include the San Angelo State Park and behind the International Lily Gardens at Civic League Park. To really see them well you need to hike back towards the river. There’s a backflow channel back there where the trees will fill with butterflies during the migration.

I have not found anywhere in the Houston area where large amounts of Monarchs congregate. You do see Monarchs almost all year long.

Monarch butterflies feed on a variety of plants. Monarch caterpillars feed on milkweed. Adding this plant to your yard almost guarantees Monarchs will visit.

Similar species: Queen, Soldier, Viceroy

Southern Dogface

Copyright Taylor Sandlin

Southern Dogface

Zerene cesonia

These yellow butterflies can be seen across Texas almost all year long.

The name comes from the dog’s face that can be seen on the upperside of the wing or through the underside if the light hits just right. The spot forms the eye of the dog with the face in profile.

The Southern Dogface is easy to distinguish from the other Yellow butterflies in Texas thanks to these clear markings and the pointed forewing which sets it apart from the Clouded Sulphur.