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Species Limenitis archippus - Viceroy - Hodges#4523

Viceroy - Limenitis archippus Monarch or Viceroy? - Limenitis archippus Limenitis archippus Limenitis archippus Viceroy - Limenitis archippus Viceroy - Limenitis archippus Viceroy - Limenitis archippus Viceroy Adult - Limenitis archippus
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Limenitidinae (Admirals, Sisters)
Tribe Limenitidini (Admirals, Sisters and Sailors)
Genus Limenitis (Admirals & Viceroy)
Species archippus (Viceroy - Hodges#4523)
Hodges Number
Explanation of Names
Limenitis archippus (Cramer, 1775)
5 subspecies in North America listed at All-Leps
1 subspecies (L. a. archippus) in Canada
wingspan 63-86 mm (; 53-81 mm (CBIF)
Adult: subspecies L. a. archippus has orange wings and resembles the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) but is smaller and has a black line across the upper surface of the hindwing. See here:
subspecies L. a. floridensis has darker (brownish) wings and resembles the Queen (Danaus gilippus) but has a black line across the upper surface of the hindwing. See
and is much larger than L. a. archippus
in subspecies L. a. obsoleta, the black line on the hindwing is edged basally with white spots on upper and lower surfaces (see photos)
subspecies L. a. hoffmanni - which is restricted to Mexico - lacks a black line on the hindwing, and resembles the Soldier (Danaus eresimus)

Larva: body hump-backed, olive green or brown with pinkish-white saddle and two short dark spiny horns on second thoracic segment; conspicuous "ankle bracelets" of pale spines above each proleg; dorsal spine clusters atop bumps on thorax and abdomen
Map - Northwest Territories south along the eastern edges of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains to central Mexico, and throughout eastern North America except Newfoundland.
1. ssp. archippus [Eastern Viceroy]: the only subspecies in Canada, occurs south in the east to central Georgia
2. ssp. floridensis [Florida Viceroy]: Florida and southern Georgia
3. ssp. lahontani [Nevada Viceroy]: type specimen collected in Fernley, Lyon County, Nevada
4. ssp. obsoleta [Arizona Viceroy]: type specimen collected in southern Arizona
5. ssp. watsoni [Watson's Gulf Coast Viceroy]: type specimen collected in Alexandria, Louisiana
Moist open or shrubby areas such as lake and swamp edges, wet meadows, willow thickets, and roadsides.
mostly May to October (BG data), yr round in FL (MPG)
Larvae feed mainly on leaves of willow (Salix) and poplar and cottonwood (Populus); other hosts include apple (Malus) and cherry (Prunus)
Adults feed on aphid honeydew, carrion, dung, decaying fruit and fungi, and also take nectar from flowers of herbaceous plants, especially composites.
Life Cycle
two or three generations per year; overwinters as a larva on the ground within a rolled leaf fastened with silk; larvae become active again in spring, feeding for two to four weeks, then pupating
1, 2, 3. Caterpillars. 4. Pupa. 5. Adult female. 6. Adult male
Adults of the various subspecies mimic the distasteful Monarch, Queen, and Soldier butterflies; by imitating a butterfly that repels predators, the Viceroy is less likely to be attacked.
Their palatability is on a spectrum and varies based on the mix of plant foods consumed.(1)
See Also
adults of the Monarch, Queen, and Soldier all lack a black line across the upper surface of the hindwing
larvae of Red-spotted Purple (L. arthemis astyanax) have two rounded dorsal bumps on second abdominal segment that lack spines (see photos 1, 2)
Print References
mimicry of Monarch and Queen by subspecies archippus and floridensis respectively (David Ritland, in The American Midland Naturalist,
mimicry; PDF doc of Soldier by Mexican subspecies hoffmanni (Ralph Chermock, in American Museum Novitates, AMNH)
Internet References
Works Cited
1.Insect Ecology: Behavior, Populations and Communities
P. W. Price, R. F. Denno, M. D. Eubanks. 2011. Cambridge University Press.