Sunday, April 21, 2013

One of These Things is not Like the Other!

At first glance this may appear to be two pictures of monarch butterflies. However these are actually pictures of two different butterfly species. In fact these two species are not even in the same genus. The photo above is of a viceroy butterfly, Genus Lemenitis, while the one below is a monarch, Genus Danaus.
Besides the fact that they look similar these two butterflies have very little in common. Both are members of the Nymphalidae , or brushfoot, family, but many species are brushfoot butterflies. The monarch butterfly is what is commonly referred to as a milkweed butterfly. These are species that eat milkweed during their larval stage making them toxic to many predators. Some people believe that the viceroy may be avoided by predators because of its resemblance to the monarch. However it has been proven that the viceroy may itself possess acids that make them taste bitter, which helps keep them from being eaten. Perhaps they are both orange as a warning to anything that is hungry and does not know any better.  





10 comments:

Lea said...

Very pretty, both of them!
I just bought milkweed plants for my garden hoping for Monarchs to come.
Have a wonderful day!
Lea
Lea's Menagerie

Jama said...

All I know is they are beautiful! great photos.

Chris Twyman and Angela said...

thanks for the informative description and lovely photographs.

Tanya Breese said...

such slight differences it is hard to tell!

Lola said...

Superb photography – great shots!

Visiting from Macro Monday

Laura said...

beautiful... one must look closely to see the subtle pattern differences, but they are clearly there.

Edna B said...

These are beautiful butterflies. Thank you for the information. I did not know that. Great photos.

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Lavender Cottage said...

Nice to see the two together. In the garden with a quick glimpse, it's hard to tell which you're looking at.

lorik said...

The combination of orange patterned wings and yellow and orange flowers makes such a beautiful picture.
Thank you for sharing it on Mandarin Orange Monday:) And sorry I am so late getting back to you.