Viceroy Butterfly

Butterfly 2.5N

Viceroy Butterfly

The Viceroy is pictured with the Goldenrod Kentucky’s state flower that is among the favorite foods of the Viceroy. The Viceroy’s markings, very similar to those of the Monarch butterfly were once thought to mimic those of the poisonous Monarch as a protection from predators. It is now known the two butterflies are equally toxic thus mutually increasing protection from birds.
The Garden Club of Kentucky commissioned well-known watercolorist Nellie Meadows to paint the Viceroy to promote the importance of the Viceroy and gain its acceptance as the State Butterfly. In 1990, the Viceroy did, indeed become our State Butterfly.
Show your support of the Viceroy through your purchase of the print.
The 22×26” print is $24.90. Call 859-987-6158 for shipping & postage information.
To purchase the Viceroy print, please send your check to: The Garden Club of Kentucky, Inc., Garden Carriage House Catalogue, 616 Pleasant Street, Paris, KY 40361.
Make checks payable to: The Garden Club of Kentucky, Inc.

Viceroy Butterfly

Limenitis archippus

The Viceroy’s Latin and common names tell us where it can be found and of its ‘royal lineage’. “Limenitis”, Latin for marshes, indicates the Viceroy’s preferred habitat. The common name comes from its resemblance to both the Queen and Monarch butterflies. In royal hierarchy, the Viceroy is the next in line, hence its common name.
Viceroys can be found from Canada to Northern Mexico, Pacific to Atlantic in moist areas around lakes, swamps, thickets, wet meadows and rural areas. It is here that the female lays her eggs on willow, poplar and cottonwoods found in moist and edge of water locations.
The adults feed on manure, carrion, and nectar of the aster family while the caterpillars feed on catkins and leaves. The aster family includes our State Flower the Goldenrod.
Adult Viceroys mimic the color pattern of the Monarch pattern except for a black horizontal stripe across the bottom of its back wings. The undersides of its wings are similar to the top while the Monarch’s is much lighter. It is easy to differentiate the two butterflies in flight. As the Viceroy glides its wings are fully extended while the Monarch’s are at a distinct angle.
Caterpillars resemble bird droppings of brown to olive green with a white saddle-shape dorsal spot. There are three generations of caterpillars each year. The late summer generation caterpillars wrap themselves in leaves for winter protection and as additional means of camouflage.
Recent research indicates that the Viceroy is as poisonous as the Monarch giving each butterfly twice the protection from predators. This cross protection is known as a Mullerian mimic.