A detailed knowledge of gene function in the monarch butterfly is still lacking. Here we generate a genome assembly from a Mexican nonmigratory population and used RNA-seq data from 14 biological samples for gene annotation and to construct an atlas portraying the breadth of gene expression during most of the monarch life cycle. Two thirds of the genes show expression changes, with long noncoding RNAs being particularly finely regulated during adulthood, and male-biased expression being four times more common than female-biased. The two portions of the monarch heterochromosome Z, one ancestral to the Lepidoptera and the other resulting from a chromosomal fusion, display distinct association with sex-biased expression, reflecting sample-dependent incompleteness or absence of dosage compensation in the ancestral but not the novel portion of the Z. This study presents extended genomic and transcriptomic resources that will facilitate a better understanding of the monarch’s adaptation to a changing environment.