Queen Butterfly

Queen Butterfly - Danaus gilippus

Queen Butterfly – Danaus gilippus

The Queen butterfly is a year-round resident of Florida and we see them quite frequently in the warm months here in Georgia.  The adults have a slow, soaring flight and bears a striking resemblance to its cousin, the Monarch Butterfly. [1] [2]

The mature queen caterpillar is darker and not as brightly colored as the monarch.  Like the Monarch, the Queen larva feeds on milkweed, but it will also feed on dogbane.  As an adult, its feeding habits are less specific. The butterfly feeds predominantly on nectar from flowers and dead foliage, but can also feed on rotting fruit, sweat, and dry or wet dung, among other substances. [1]

The queen is one of many insects that derives chemical defenses against its predators from its food plant.   Most of the toxicity that make queens so unpalatable to its predators are sequestered from larval host plants. [1]

References and Additional Information

[1]  Wikipedia: Queen Butterfly
[2]  Butterflies of Georgia –  Jaret C. Daniels