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Viceroy butterfly

Limenitis archippus

Description:

Its wings feature an orange and black pattern, and over most of its range it is a Müllerian mimic with the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). The viceroy's wingspan is between 53 and 81 mm (2.1 and 3.2 in). It can be distinguished from the monarch by its smaller size and the postmedian black line that runs across the veins on the hindwing. In Florida, Georgia, and the American 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. In an experiment with both the monarch's and viceroy's wings removed, birds were discovered to think the viceroy was just as unpalatable as the monarchs.

Habitat:

Hadley Valley Preserve is former farmland that has been restored to mostly native prairie with some clumps of shrubs and forest. There is a nice size creek bisecting it. The 807-acre Hadley Valley was acquired between 2000 and 2014. The preserve is part of the Spring Creek preservation system, which conserves more than 2,000 acres. Hadley Valley protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, savanna, wetland and a portion of Spring Creek. Wildlife found at the preserve includes more than 15,000 species of insects, birds, aquatic invertebrates, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. The preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including tall swamp marigold, wahoo, great angelica, yellow avens and shingle oak. The site is managed with invasive species control, prescribed burning, native species establishment and soil stabilization to protect and enhance its natural resources. The preserve is the location of the largest restoration effort in the District’s history — a stream de-channelization, wetland restoration and wildlife habitat restoration project in 500 acres of the preserve — performed in partnership with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Openlands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the O’Hare Modernization Program.

Notes:

Possibly perched on Queen Anne's lace.

1 Species ID Suggestions

viceroy butterfly
Limenitis archippus


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jazz.mann
Spotted by
jazz.mann

Joliet, Illinois, United States

Spotted on Aug 7, 2021
Submitted on Aug 22, 2021

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