Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Also known as the Eastern Viceroy Butterfly
There are subtle differences between monarchs and viceroys; however, and an eye to the minute detail will enable anyone to tell the difference between the two. (The quickest is to look for the perpendicular line along the lower edge of the Viceroy dorsal wing. Monarchs do not have this perpendicular black line.)
Viceroy butterfly wings range between 2 ½ and 3 3/8 inches. Monarch butterfly wings range between 3 3/8 and 4 7/8 inches.
Another difference between viceroys and monarchs is that monarch butterflies migrate each autumn. Viceroy butterflies do not migrate. They spend winter months keeping warm in a rolled-up poplar or willow leaf.
*Viceroy butterflies have bright orange and black colors and look almost identical to the monarch butterfly. The Viceroy butterfly benefits from looking like a monarch butterfly. (Batesan mimicry) Many predators avoid eating monarchs because of the milkweed that they eat as caterpillars which makes them poisonous to these predators. Because viceroys are mistaken for monarchs, they can escape the appetites of these predators as well.
Avg. Wingspan: 53 - 81 mm / 2.1 - 3.2 "
Diet: caterpillars feed on the leaves of willow and poplar trees.
Diet: adults eat carrion, dung, fungi and the nectar of flowers from the Asteraceae family, such as golden rod, asters and thistles.
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta, Order: Lepidoptera