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Butterflies in the Garden

Plant It and They Will Come

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Raising Butterflies
Black Swallowtail

Interesting Facts about the Viceroy:

It was originally believed that the Viceroy was a Batesian mimic of the three other species, (Soldier, Monarch and Queen) and presumed edible or only mildly unpalatable to predators, but this has since has been proven not to be true. Batesian mimicry is a form of mimicry typified by a situation where a harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a common predator.

In fact, the Viceroy is a Müllerian mimic. Müllerian mimicry is when two or more harmful species, that may or may not be closely related and share one or more common predators, have come to mimic each other's warning signals.

The Viceroy caterpillars feed on trees in the willow family (Salicaceae), including willows (Salix), and poplars and cottonwoods (Populus). The caterpillars sequester the salicylic acid from these trees, in their bodies, which makes them bitter, and upsets predators' stomachs.

The Viceroy butterfly nectars on flowers. They also can be found puddling and feeding on aphid honeydew, carrion, decaying fungi, dung, rotting fruit, and tree sap.