Facts about Viceroy Butterfly, "Scientific name for Viceroy Butterfly is Limenitis archippus" The Viceroy Butterfly are small, dark orange butterflies that range through most parts of the United States and parts of Mexico and Canada. The Viceroy Butterfly westernmost range extends along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range mountains, and southwards into central Mexico. Their easternmost portion extends along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts of N.America from Nova Scotia into Texas. The Viceroy butterfly was named the official butterfly of Kentucky in 1990.
The Viceroy Butterfly wings feature a black and orange pattern. The Viceroy Butterfly have a wingspan of between 53 and 81 millimeters. They have a postmedian black line running across their veins on the hind wing. Viceroy caterpillars are white and olive-brown.
Viceroy butterflies live in marshes, meadows, and swamps and other wet areas with poplar and willow trees.
The Viceroy Butterfly mate in the afternoons. The females lay their eggs on the leaves of tips of willows and poplars. There are usually 2 to 3 generations of viceroys born each season of breeding.
The caterpillars feed on leaves of the willow family Salicaceae. The Viceroy Butterfly include willows, cottonwoods, and poplars. The caterpillar sequesters salicylic acid in its body, which makes it bitter, and upsets predator’s stomach. As further protection, this caterpillar, as well as its chrysalis stage, resembles bird droppings.
Adult Viceroy Butterfly are diurnal, flying in the late mornings and early afternoons.
Like many other species of butterfly, the main predators of Viceroy Butterfly are birds.
The Viceroy butterfly's major defense mechanism against predators is mimicry. Early experiments on the Viceroy butterfly suggested that the Viceroys, modeled by the Monarch, practice Batesian mimicry; a defensive behavior in which palatable species resemble toxic or unpalatable species to escape predation. In the experiments, birds that hadn’t been exposed to the Monarchs willingly ate the Viceroy Butterfly, but the ones who had tasted the unpalatable Monarchs refused to eat the mimics. In addition, when avian predators were given the choice between the mimic and the non-mimics after being exposed to the unpalatable model, they ate the Viceroy mimic. As such, the wings of Viceroy butterflies range from tawny orange in the north (resembling Monarchs) to dark mahogany in the south (Resembling queens). However, another study conducted in the early 1990’s suggests the Viceroy Butterfly and the Monarchs Butterfly are actually examples of Mullerian mimicry (two equally toxic species mimicking each other to the benefit of each). The study suggested that Viceroy Butterfly may not be palatable to avian predators. It concluded that Viceroy Butterfly may be displaying Müllerian mimicry, and that both Viceroy Butterfly and Monarchs Butterfly are actually co-mimics of each other.
Some studies indicate that selective pressures from the Viceroy Butterfly predators may have given rise to the Viceroy’s “model-switching”, with each subspecies of L.archippus choosing to copy the locally dominant Danaine subspecies’ color pattern. When the breeding range of Monarchs’ overlaps with that of Viceroy Butterfly, the Viceroys will adopt light orange phenotypes. Towards the south, the Viceroys mostly displayed darker phenotypes in response to the large population of the queens. The only difference between the two butterflies is the color of their wings; other features, including wing-pattern elements and body size, are identical.
Viceroy Butterfly are insects. A Viceroy Butterfly is a herbivore; Meaning that as a caterpillar its first food is its own eggshell and than it will eat the leaves of the plant on which it is hatched. When it becomes a Viceroy Butterfly, it will feed mostly on nectar from flowers, rotting fruit and water with a "proboscis" - a long narrow tube in their mouth that looks like a straw.
Life cycle of a Viceroy Butterfly comes in four stages, egg, larva "caterpillars", pupa "chrysalis" and adult Viceroy Butterfly.
A Viceroy Butterfly will attach its eggs to leaves with a special glue.
When caterpillars become fully grown they will attach to an appropriate leaf or small branch, than they will shed the outside layer of their skin and a hard skin underneath known as a "chrysalis" will be their new look
An adult Viceroy Butterfly will come out from the "chrysalis" than it waits a few hours for its wings to dry and fill with blood, before it takes its first flight.
Viceroy Butterfly can see yellow, green, and red. An adult butterfly average life span is from a week to a year
The top flight speed of a butterfly is 12 miles per hour and some moths can fly up to 25 miles per hour.
A Viceroy Butterfly is cold-blooded, which means the body temperature is not regulated on its own. A Butterfly can't fly or eat if their body temperature is below 82 degrees fah (28 cel). Viceroy Butterfly are often basking in the sun with their wings open to gain heat and than the veins in the wings carry the heat to the body.
A Viceroy Butterfly has sense organ, on their feet or tarsi, for tasting
The estimate is between 15000 and 20000 different species of butterfly.
A Viceroy Butterfly has a small body, made up of three parts – the head, abdomen and thorax. A Viceroy Butterfly has two large eyes, which are made up of many small parts which are called "compound eyes".
A Viceroy Butterfly has two antenna's on the top of their heads, which they use to smell, hear and feel. A Viceroy Butterfly mouth is a long tube a "proboscis" - a long narrow tube in their mouth that looks like a straw when its done eating, it rolls the tube back up.
A Viceroy Butterfly has three pairs of legs and their feet have little claws that help them stand on flowers. The Viceroy Butterfly wings are made up of hard tubes that are covered with a thin tissue. The butterfly's wings are covered with fine dusty like scales. A Viceroy Butterfly has four brightly colored wings having distinctive patterns made up of tiny scales. The bright patterns scales sometimes have hidden ultraviolet patterns for attracting mates. The bright colors are also used as camouflage to hide them or scare off predictors.