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viceroy butterfly

Q: I saw a butterfly similar to a monarch, but I know it wasn’t one. Do you have any idea what it was?

Q: I saw a butterfly similar to a monarch, but I know it wasn’t one. The colors were the same but it had a black line on its back wings. Do you have any idea what it was?

A: I happen to be in the UF/IFAS Nassau County demo garden recently and I had the best time pulling weeds and taking photos. I spied the same butterfly drinking nectar from our butterfly bush. The butterfly was a viceroy. It has the same coloring as a monarch but it is slightly smaller in size. I took about a dozen photos only to have about 3 turn out but it was worth it. Adult viceroys prefer wet habitat along ponds, swamps, and rivers, where their host plants frequently line the banks – we have 3 healthy retention ponds near our garden. Males actively perch in the late morning and early afternoon, looking out for females and defending their territory. For more information on this butterfly check out the publication from the University of Florida’s Featured Creatures: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/viceroy.htm