Over the course of past week, we on Cape Ann have been graced with a splendid mini Monarch migration across our shores, and many other species of butterflies too are on the wing. To my utter delight, yesterday while filming at what I like to think of as a butterfly hotspot, a pint-sized butterfly went zooming past. Wow, that is the smallest Monarch I have ever seen. But no, the butterfly traveled across the field, and when it paused for a few moments to warm its wings, I realized it was a Viceroy Butterfly! This was the first time I have observed a Viceroy on Cape Ann.
The Viceroy has a faster flight pattern than the Monarch and I was only able to get a few minutes of footage and only several photos before it disappeared over the horizon however; you can see from the photos how very similar the wing pattern is. To make a quick comparison when out in the field, the Viceroy does not have the mitten-shaped cell that the Monarch possesses and it has a prominent black line running along lower wings.
To read more about Monarch and Viceroy fakery, read the following terrific article from New Jersey Audubon here: “Monarchs and Viceroys: A Tale of Mimicry”