10 Difference Between Monarch and Viceroy Butterfly (With Table)

Both monarch and viceroy are butterflies and have the same color patterns on their wings. Butterflies have an orange color and black stripes. The orange color is used to warn predators.

So, what is the difference between a monarch and a viceroy butterfly? A monarch butterfly has stripes extending from the top to the bottom of the hind wings while a viceroy butterfly has horizontal black stripes crossing the vertical stripes of the hind wings in the postmedian level.

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Comparison Table (Monarch vs Viceroy butterfly)

Characteristics Monarch butterfly Viceroy butterfly
Meaning Refers to a large migratory butterfly with orange and black mainly in North America. Refers to a showy, North American nymphalid butterfly, closely mimicking monarch in coloration.
Scientific name Danaus Plexippus Limenitis Archippus
Location Found in North and South America, the Caribbean islands, Oceania, and parts of Europe. Found in North America, Canada, and Northern Mexico.
Size It is large in body size. It is comparatively small in body size.
Wing size Wingspan ranges from 21/2 to 33/8 inches. Wingspan ranges from 33/8 to 47/8 inches.
Horizontal stripes Do not have a horizontal black stripe on the hind wing. They have a horizontal black stripe on the hind wing.
Flight Float-like and exhibits flap glide pattern. Faster and erratic.
Migration Migrate each autumn. Do not migrate.
Caterpillar appearance They are yellow and have vivid black stripes. They look like twigs. They are lump-like and appear subdued green and brown.
Caterpillar diet They feed on milkweed leaves. They feed on poplar, willow, and alder leaves.
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 What Is Monarch Butterfly?

A monarch butterfly is a large migratory butterfly with orange and black colors mainly found in North America. When it opens its wings, it is about four inches wide. They live in meadows and open fields with milkweeds during spring and summer.

The larvae of a butterfly feed on milkweeds. The adult feeds on nectar. The milkweed makes the taste of a butterfly horrible to its predators. The Caterpillar of the monarch butterfly has vivid black stripes, especially on the female butterflies.

What Is Viceroy Butterfly?

Viceroy butterfly is a showy, North American nymphalid butterfly closely mimicking monarch in coloration. Its color and pattern of the stripes are more like the ones on a monarch butterfly. As compared to body size with monarch, they are smaller.

They have a horizontal black stripe on the hindwing. They also have tiny hairy forelegs. During their larval and adult stages, they both depend on willow, poplar, and aspen for their survival. The kind of food they eat makes them taste horrible to their predators.

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The color they possess always warns the predators not to eat them. The caterpillar of the viceroy looks like twigs, they are lump-like and appear subdued green and brown.

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Main Differences between Monarch and Viceroy Butterfly

  1. The monarch butterfly is larger while the viceroy butterfly is smaller in body size.
  2. Monarch butterflies do not have a horizontal black stripe on the hind wing while the viceroy butterfly has a black stripe on the hind wing.
  3. Monarch butterflies float-like and exhibit flap glide patterns while the viceroy butterfly is faster and erratic.
  4. The monarch butterfly migrates during each autumn while the viceroy butterfly does not migrate.
  5. The caterpillar of the monarch is yellow and has vivid black stripes while the caterpillar of the viceroy looks like twigs, they are lump-like and appear subdued green and brown.

Similarities between Monarch and Viceroy Butterfly

  1. They both have forewings and hindwings.
  2. Both have similar coloration on the wings.
  3. Both caterpillars of these butterflies feed on leaves with foul taste and toxic substances.
  4. Both of them undergo complete metamorphosis.
  5. They both have black stripes extending from top to bottom of their hind wings.
  6. The orange color on both butterflies is advertising coloration used to warn predators.
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In Conclusion

Both monarch and viceroy butterflies have the same color which is used for the same purpose. That is advertising coloration that is used to warn predators. The two are different in some ways, hence they should not be confused as the same butterfly. The main feature that makes the monarch butterflies look different from viceroy butterflies is the presence of a horizontal black stripe in the viceroy butterfly.

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