Can You Spot the Monarch in the Crowd?

News Flash!  Monarch butterflies have started their amazing migration south and they should be coming through Georgia about now. Monarchs have gotten lot of press recently and people everywhere are pitching in to help them out.

Every time we see an orange butterfly, we think (hope actually) that it’s a Monarch.  But we’re often fooled by at least three other orange butterflies that resemble the Monarch: the Viceroy, Gulf Fritillary and Queen.

To help us keep them straight, we put together this  graphic:

compare-orange-4As you can see, the Viceroy looks the most like a Monarch.  The horizontal black stripe near the bottom of the wing (circled in yellow) is the biggest clue that you are looking at a Viceroy, not a Monarch.  This mimicry is by design to enable the Viceroy to fool predators into thinking it is a Monarch which is toxic.

This graphic also appears on our page Orange Butterflies so you can bookmark it for future reference.  Keep your eyes peeled for all of these beautiful butterflies.

5 thoughts on “Can You Spot the Monarch in the Crowd?

  1. Ken Millen

    Very helpful and think I’ll be able to recognize the monarch next time I see one at the beach. While on SGI last week, we were seeing very large numbers of orange butterflies (going across the bridges it was almost as if it were raining butterflies) but probably too early to have been Monarchs. Now I’ll be able to better determine the species). We also noted on this last visit, quite a few hummingbirds hanging around our yard – we do have lots of flowers on the property.

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    1. beveritt Post author

      Hi Ken. Thanks for the feedback and glad you liked the graphic! We hope it helps. We’re not sure which butterflies you were seeing last week at St. George Island, but we’ll bet they were Monarchs. This webpage https://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/monarch_all_fall2016.html has the status of this year’s Monarch migration. It looks like from their map that Monarchs should be coming through. Btw, the entire site Learner.org/jnorth has excellent information on the migration of several species. Give us a report on what you learn next time you are at the beach.

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      1. Ken Millen

        Bill: Thanks for the additional information. The one thing that I was seeing down on the island last week was the very large number of butterflies that were flying across the bridge (southward) toward the island particularly when I got up to the top of the bridge (higher elevation). In any case, while I’ve seen this in past years, it’s been a while since I’ve seen such large number of them. They were almost all orange but I know that doesn’t mean they were Monarchs…..

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      2. beveritt Post author

        Hi Ken. Thanks for the follow up. After talking with you this morning, we’re pretty sure you were seeing Monarchs based on your description and the migration map. And if we’re right, we are sure happy about that. Forgot to comment on the hummingbirds, but we’re glad to hear that also. That’s because you’ve planted the flowers they love and need.

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