viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.


FAMILY: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
SUBFAMILY: Admirals and Relatives (Limenitidinae)


IDENTIFICATION: Upperside is orange and black, resembling the
Monarch (Danaus plexippus), except the Viceroy has a black line
across the hindwing and a single row of white dots in the black
marginal band. Where Monarchs are rare in Florida, Georgia,
and the Southwest, Viceroys are brown instead of orange and
mimic the Queen (Danaus gilippus).


LIFE HISTORY: During most of the day, males perch on vegetation
or patrol around the host plants to find females. Females lay eggs at
the tip of host plant leaves, depositing only two or three eggs on a
plant before moving to another. Caterpillars eat their eggshells after
they hatch, then at night feed on catkins and leaves. Young caterpillars
make a ball of leaf bits, dung, and silk which hangs off the leaf on which
they are feeding; the dangling mass may distract predators. Third-stage
caterpillars make a shelter from a rolled leaf tip in which to spend the
winter. The Viceroy is a Mullerian mimic of the Monarch, and it is also
distasteful.


FLIGHT: Two to three broods from May-September in most of its range,
all year in Florida.


WING SPAN: 2 1/2 - 3 3/8 inches (6.3 - 8.6 cm).


CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Trees in the willow family (Salicaceae) including
willows (Salix), and poplars and cottonwoods (Populus).


ADULT FOOD: Early in the season when few flowers are available
Viceroys feed on aphid honeydew, carrion, dung, and decaying fungi.
Later generations feed more often at flowers, favoring composites
including aster, goldenrod, joe-pye weed, shepherd's needle, and
Canada thistle.


HABITAT: Moist open or shrubby areas such as lake and swamp edges,
willow thickets, valley bottoms, wet meadows, and roadsides.


RANGE: Northwest Territories south along the eastern edges of the
Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains to central Mexico, east through
all the eastern United States.


CONSERVATION: The Obsolete Viceroy (subspecies obsoleta) has lost
much of its habitat due to development, water impoundment, and the
exotic aggressive saltcedar.


NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally,
though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
periphery.


MANAGEMENT NEEDS: Restore riparian habitats in the Southwest.
Conserve extant habitats.


SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:

 

Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from

year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more

categories and may vary even during a single season.

 

Key to Checklist

A   Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
      at proper time of year.
C   Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
      at proper time of year.
U   Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
      usually in low numbers.

O   Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
      in low numbers.

R   Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
      year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X   Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.

 

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Back to Inventory of Butterfly Families and Species

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