North American Range
This butterfly is a master of subtle deception. The egg mimics a gall on its hostplant. Larvae resemble bird droppings. Pupae also appear to be bird droppings or a dead leaf. Adults look strikingly like a Monarch or Queen. For many years the Viceroy was considered a palatable mimic of the Monarch. Recent research has shown it to be as noxious as the Monarch and often more so than the Queen, making it a Mullerian rather than a Batesian mimic.
Smaller than a Monarch. Upperside is orange and black, resembling a, except the Viceroy has a black line across the hindwing and a single row of white dots in the black marginal band. Where Monarchs are rare in Florida, Georgia and the Southwest, Viceroys are more brown toned instead of orange and mimic the Queen.
Two broods during VBS. Extreme dates: 20 May 2004 in Bennington and Shaftsbury and 9 October 2006 in Bennington (K. Hemeon).
Distribution and Habitat
Found to be abundant across the entire state during VBS. They prefer moist, open or shrubby areas such as lake and swamp edges, willow thickets, valley bottoms, wet meadows and roadsides. Preferred hostplants are Pussy Willow (Salix discolor), Black Willow (Salix nigra), and cottonwoods (Populus). Early season adults feed on aphid honeydew, dung and carrion as there are few flowers from which to nectar. However, later in the season, Viceroys favor aster (Aster), goldenrod (Oligoneuron), and thistle (Carduus).