The viceroy is a similar looking butterfly, but looks are where the similarity ends. Viceroy caterpillars do not feed on milkweed, they prefer willow leaves and other non-toxic plants and trees, and so they are not toxic. Fortunately for them, most predators have difficulty distinguishing between the two different types of butterflies and so this acts as a defense mechanism for the viceroy.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Monarch vs Vicroy
Even though most butterflies only live in their adult state for a matter of weeks or sometimes months many butterflies have defense mechanisms which help them to live as long as they possibly can.For most monarch butterflies life as an adult is just a few weeks in the summer, just time enough to mate, lay eggs, and pollinate some flowers along the way. Those that hatch in the late summer get to live an extended life of sorts. These are the ones that fly down to southern California or Mexico for the winter. To help them survive monarchs ingest milkweed while in their larval state. Milkweed is toxic to many predators, mostly insects and birds, and so most of them avoid monarchs.