Monarch or Viceroy?
I saw my first monarch a couple of weeks ago. They have made it to New England and are searching for young milkweed to lay their eggs on. They are also searching for colorful flowers nearby that provide them with energy-rich nectar. This seems earlier than last year, but I might say that every year! Just after noticing the monarch, I saw a monarch mimic...a viceroy butterfly. Viceroys are smaller, fly more erractically, and have a black line running through their bottom wings. They mimic the monarch for protection. Monarchs ingest chemicals form the milkweed that get integrated into their bodies, which makes them poisonous or at the very least, taste bad, to potential predators.
Viceroys would like those same predators to leave them alone too! But they can't fool my trained eye. The photo to the left was taken 2 years ago when I observed a monarch and viceroy side by side. See if you can pick out the differences. If you see a monarch flying by, be sure to report your sighting and any other observations you notice to Journey North! They keep records on the migration every year and use it to help conserve this amazing phenomenom.