10% off all photos on 500px Prime until July 31Start exploring now!

The Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) is a North American butterfly with a range from the Northwest Territories along the eastern edges of the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada mountains, southwards into central Mexico.Its wings feature an orange and black pattern, and over most of its range it is a Müllerian mimic[1] with the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). The viceroy's wingspan is between 53 and 81 mm.[2] It can be distinguished from the Monarch by its smaller size and the postmedian black line that runs across the veins on the hindwing.[2] In Florida, Georgia, and the Southwest, Viceroys share the pattern of the Queen (Danaus gilippus) and in Mexico they share the pattern of the Soldier (Danaus eresimus). In all three areas, the local Danaus population mimic the coloration of the Viceroy species. It was originally believed that the Viceroy was a Batesian mimic of the three other species, and presumed edible or only mildly unpalatable to predators, but this has since proven not to be true.[1]The caterpillar feeds on trees in the willow family Salicaceae, including willows (Salix), and poplars and cottonwoods (Populus). The caterpillars sequester the salicylic acid in their bodies, which makes them bitter, and upsets predators' stomachs. As further protection, the caterpillars, as well as their chrysalis stage, resemble bird droppings. Adults are strictly diurnal, flying preferentially in the late morning and early afternoon.[3]The Viceroy was named the state butterfly of Kentucky in 1990.[4]

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app