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Viceroy vs. Monarch

8-18-18 MONARCH vs. viceroy1To clarify yesterday’s post on mimicry, here are the Viceroy and Monarch, side by side. Note the horizontal black line across the hindwings of the Viceroy.  The (larger) Monarch lacks this line.

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12 responses

  1. Nadine Lada

    Thank you for the clarification. Saw one flitting about Thursday on Bakers Island [MA] and got impression of a lot of black so this comparison really helps.

    August 18, 2018 at 9:52 am

  2. Harriet OBrien

    Mary – Thank you for the clarification and side-by-side pictures of Monarchs and Viceroys! I’ve been guilty of calling them all Monarchs, much to my chagrin. I’ll look more carefully in the future.

    Hope you are well, and hello to Sadie and the kids!


    August 18, 2018 at 10:41 am

  3. I use the lines on the hindwings of the Viceroy as a the letter “V” to id it.

    August 18, 2018 at 11:10 am

  4. It is amazing to me how the Viceroy has been able, over time, to mimic the Monarch, in order to “fool” its predators into “thinking” it tastes horrible. Similar mimicry in other creatures is also amazing. Evolution is amazing.

    August 18, 2018 at 11:50 am

  5. Bill on the hill

    Mary, you never cease to amaze me! Keep them coming…

    August 18, 2018 at 3:21 pm

  6. Whoever named the Viceroy butterfly knew what he or she was doing. The word means vice-king, as in deputy-king! A viceroy stands in for the monarch In their absence. So the Viceory of India was Queen Victoria’s avatar. Perfect naming.

    August 18, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    • Bill on the hill

      That is a most interesting comment… So the Viceroy & Monarch have royalty in their genes…
      Thank you!

      August 19, 2018 at 7:42 am

  7. Char Delabar


    August 18, 2018 at 8:23 pm

  8. Susan Musty

    Is the flight pattern the same for both of them?

    August 18, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    • Great question! Viceroys have a “flap-glide” flight style, whereas Monarchs fly strongly and sail with wings in a shallow “V.”

      August 19, 2018 at 8:02 am

  9. Thanks for the reminder about cues re. what details to look for, to ID these two look-alikes.
    Now I’m wondering: do Viceroys also lay eggs on milkweed, or count on milkweed as a part of their life cycle?

    August 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm

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