One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large strikingly marked butterfly of a group that includes the monarch (milkweed) and plain tiger, found chiefly in the tropics of Africa and East Asia.
Subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae (formerly family Danaidae)
- ‘Monarchs are members of a butterfly family called the Danaids, so named because they feed on members of the milkweed family of plants.’
- ‘The male danaids have two brushlike structures called hairpencils that are normally tucked into the rear of the abdomen.’
- ‘All Nymph and Danaid butterflies are strong and rapid fliers.’
- ‘The danaid butterflies, such as the Monarch, are well recognised to be doubly defended from predators by two classes of plant-derived toxins.’
- ‘Danaids are large, robust butterflies that contain some of the longest-lived butterflies in the world.’
Late 19th century: from modern Latin Danaidae, arbitrary use of the Latin name of the daughters of Danaus.
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