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Photo for species Danaus_gilippus

The Queen Butterfly mimics the Monarch Butterfly and is also poisonous, but the Queen does not roost by the thousands in winter, nor make 3,000 mile-long migratory journeys as Monarchs do.

Photo Credit:
Trevor Huxham via flickr

Danaus gilippus

queen
What does this species look like?
What does this species look like?: 

The upperside of the wings is chestnut brown. The black borders of the forewings have two rows of white spots, and there are more white spots scattered at the tip of the forewing. The underside of the hindwing has black veins and the black borders of both wings have two rows of white spots. The upperside of males’ hindwings have a black scale patch. Queens in the southwest (and sometimes in the southeast) have pale veins on the upperside of the hindwings.

Caterpillars are banded with black, white and yellow and have black fleshy projections.

Chrysalids of this species are a beautiful, pale green with golden spots.

Total adult length: 2.4 to 2.6 inches (60.9 - 66 mm), occasional dwarves

The Queen butterfly is a close relative of the Monarch. The Queen larvae also feed on milkweed plants where they ingest their toxic chemicals.

Similar species: The Queen butterfly looks quite similar to the Monarch. As with the Monarch, male adults are distinguished from females by a black patch on the hindwing that holds scent scales. Queen Butterflies have fewer black veins on the upper surface of their wings. Another similar species, the Viceroy (Basilarchia archippus), has a black thorax and abdomen. The Soldier (Danaus eresimus) can be similar, but the Queen is more brownish, and has more defined wing veins on the upper side of the wings. The Soldier also has a band of pale spots the underside of the hindwing. 

Where is this species found?
States & Provinces: 
AZ, CA, CO, FL, KS, MS, NC, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT
Distribution

This species occurs across the western United States. The Queen is native to South and Central America and the southern U.S. It is most commonly found in the desert. The distribution information for this species is incomplete.

General Phenology and Life History

Actively flying from March to November.

You may find small numbers of male Queens roosting during the evenings and collecting chemicals from plants to use for mating.
In the desert southwest, these are one of the first butterflies you’ll see flying in the morning.

Which phenophases should I observe?
Activity

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Active adults
One or more adults are seen moving about or at rest.

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Flower visitation
One or more individuals are seen visiting flowers or flying from flower to flower. If possible, record the name of the plant or describe it in the comments field.

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Migrating adults
Multiple adults of the same species are seen flying steadily in a uniform direction without stopping.

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Reproduction

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Mating
A male and female are seen coupled in a mating position, usually end to end. This can occur at rest or in flight.

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Development

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Active caterpillars
One or more caterpillars (larvae) are seen moving about or at rest. When seen on a plant, if possible, record the name of the plant or describe it in the comments field.

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Caterpillars feeding
One or more caterpillars are seen feeding. If possible, record the name of the species or substance being eaten or describe it in the comments field.

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Dead adults
One or more dead adults are seen, including those found on roads.

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Dead caterpillars
One or more dead caterpillars are seen, including those found on roads.

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Method

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Individuals at a feeding station
One or more individuals are seen visiting a feeder, feeding station, or food placed by a person.

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Individuals in a net
One or more individuals are seen caught in a net.

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