Sexing Monarch Butterflies

Is it a male or a female? It is simpler to differentiate between the two than you may think.

As caterpillars, we cannot tell the difference between male and female Monarchs. Beyond that, we can and you will soon be able to tell too. You can determine the sex of both chrysalises and adults.

Male and female adult Monarch butterflies

Male (left) and female (right) adult Monarch butterflies

Adults are simplest. Males have dots on their hindwings.

Female adult Monarch butterflies are slightly darker and have wider black lines on their wings.

Although the male’s black dot isn’t as visible from the outside of the wing, the area where it is located can be seen when its wings are closed.

Female and Male Monarch butterfly chrysalis chrysalides pupae

Female and Male Monarch butterfly chrysalises

Male and female Monarch butterfly chrysalis pupa

Female and male Monarch butterfly chrysalises

As chrysalises, it takes good eyesight or taking a photo and enlarging the photo. Just below and between the lowest two black bumps/dots (holdfast tubercles) on the chrysalis, there will be either a short or long indentation.

The male’s shorter line is touching the abdominal segment line that touches the holdfast tubercles. The female’s longer line touches the abdominal segment below the line that touches the holdfast tubercles.

Monarch butterfly chrysalis pupa abdominal segment lines

Monarch butterfly chrysalis abdominal segment lines

(Click on any photo to see a larger image.)

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