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Viceroy Butterfly
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Viceroy Butterfly

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Nymphalidae

Pest Status: Viceroy butterflies are not pests.

Appearance: The viceroy butterfly is a large insect that is amazingly similar to the monarch butterfly in color and pattern of markings. This mimicry is designed to take advantage of the monarch's defense system (distasteful to predators) that the viceroy lacks. The viceroy is distinguished, however, by a thick, black line curving across its hind wings. White spots also appear within the black borders of its wings.

Life Cycle: Females lay their eggs on the tips of host plant leaves. When the eggs hatch, the caterpillars feed at night on the plants. The larvae overwinter before pupating and emerging as adults in the spring. Viceroys have one to two broods per year depending on the local climate.

Where to Collect: Viceroys prefer open or slightly shrubby areas that are wet or near water including: wet meadows, marshes, ponds, lakes, railroad tracks, and roadsides.