What to do if you find a dead Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)?

I found a dead Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on the road today. Its likely cause of death was a car. I took photos of it and will upload the pictures later as an observation on iNaturalist.

Before I dispose of it is there anything I should do with it? I tried Googling research projects to see if I should send the specimen to a research institution but was unsuccessful.

I live in a Ontario where Monarchs are endangered and soon they will migrate for winter. Current research focuses on insecticide exposure as a source of declining populations.

iNaturalist has a knowledgeable community with a wealth of knowledge. I was wondering if it is worthwhile collecting the butterfly as a specimen.

P.S - This is my first post on the iNaturalist Community Forum. I searched for related posts prior to posting. Please be kind. Thanks!


Welcome to the forum!


According to this site https://www.ontario.ca/page/monarch the monarch is not considered endangered in Ontario; it is listed as “special concern”, which simply means the government is keeping an eye on their population levels to re-evaluate periodically whether it should be listed as threatened or endangered. The main source of population decline for the migratory monarch population is listed as habitat fragmentation in the overwintering grounds in Mexico, though pesticide use along migration corridors may also be having an impact. I doubt that monarch specimens are in high demand given how common they are, but if it’s already dead, you could always hold onto it just in case. It’s certainly not a violation of any regulations since they don’t receive any sort of protection in your area.


Thank you! I recognize your user name. I think you have ID’ed an observation or two of mine.


Our government in Ontario and the mnrf especially are very corrupt and essentially just a smoke and mirrors operation. I wouldn’t bother trying to contact them for any reason, ever (you’l just be put on hold for hours and press buttons in reply to bots). Anytime I have tried to contact them has been unsuccessful and disappointing to say the least.

I guess if you really wanted too, you could start a bug collection and preserve the monarch.

1 Like

I’d say just leave it be. I’m not sure a museum would accept a damaged specimen. But if you want to keep it for yourself that shouldn’t hurt either. Keep in mind the death of one individual monarch is insignificant to the whole population.


I like that idea of starting a bug collection! I see that you also went to Fleming College (Frost). My only experience with bugs are aquatic ones that the Fish & Wildlife students had collected in the field. I’m not sure how to preserve bugs or if I need to buy a preservative. Any tips?

1 Like

I think I might keep it. Thanks for the idea. I hadn’t considered it until posting the question.

1 Like

There are some excellent guides on YouTube & elsewhere for pinning and mounting dead butterflies.

Some observations on local moths & flies (which I’ve added to iNaturalist) got me rather curious a couple weeks ago. I wanted to keep one for a better ID eventually. So now I’m seriously considering collecting the dead butterflies that I see, at least. Though I much prefer photographing living ones that I spot on my walks.


Are you a prof at Frost?

I’m in the same boat lol Just the aquatic ones they told us how to do. Perhaps you could dry bugs out with salt? Works for bird parts. I know at least you will need some insect pins lol


Excellent resources! This is very much appreciated.

1 Like

No, I am just a student. Someone posted some guides and other resources to this thread that will help to start a terrestrial bug collection, in case you’re interested.

1 Like

I think they just dry out naturally, no need for salt. Of course if you want to reposition them to a more appealing presentation there are techniques (loads of info online) to “relax” your specimen so that it becomes more flexible. And then once they are dry you would want to keep them away from direct sunlight and tinier bugs that may eat and destroy your specimens.


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.