Viceroys

I learned about butterflies and photography by walking a powerline easement near where I used to work. One of the things I learned over my years watching butterflies there was the cycle of flights of different species, for example, Viceroys. Every year, the first Viceroys flew at the end of May or the beginning of June, with another flight later in the summer. Amazingly, I could find them in roughly the same spots along the path at each flight, year to year. Finding them in the same spots is probably a matter of there being a limited number of good spots to watch for other Viceroys to mate with. That’s what I think, anyway – hard to explain the year-to-year coincidence otherwise.

This year I saw a decent number of viceroys – 8 in all – and two mating couples. Here’s one happy pair:

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10 thoughts on “Viceroys

  1. I have learned something new!! I’ve always assumed the orange/black/striped butterflies I see are Monarchs! I will have to look more carefully next time and determine if I’m actually seeing Viceroys instead.

    Wonderful shot, Tom. And thank you for the lesson. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tracy! Viceroys have evolved to look like Monarchs, so it’s no accident that you thought that’s what they were. One difference is the single vein that goes across the hindwing, more or less perpendicular to the other veins. Monarchs don’t have that vein.

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