Viceroy


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Viceroy, common name for a butterfly native to the western hemisphere from southern Canada to the southern United States. It is bright orange-red with a wide black band running along the outer margins of the wings. The band is punctuated with a uniform row of white spots.

The eggs of the viceroy are laid at the tips of oak, willow, birch, or linden leaves and are spherical in shape. The surface of the egg is covered with bristles and pitted with six-sided cells. The larva, or caterpillar, feeds on the leaf tip on which it was hatched and attaches bits of partially chewed leaf to the leaf midrib by strands of silk. When winter approaches, the caterpillar detaches the uneaten portions of the leaf from the midrib, glues the rib of the leaf to the stem with a stout silk thread, rolls itself up in the detached leaf to form a hibernaculum, or winter quarters, and reattaches the leaf to the rib. The caterpillar pupates, and the butterfly emerges in late spring or early summer.

The viceroy is unpalatable to insectivorous animals. Adults bear a remarkable color resemblance to the monarch butterfly, and the two species are Mullerian mimics.

Scientific classification: The viceroy belongs to the family Nymphalidae, of the order Lepidoptera. It is classified as Basilarchia archippus.

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