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Queen Butterfly, cousin of Monarch, is sipping from Milkweed | by jungle mama
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Queen Butterfly, cousin of Monarch, is sipping from Milkweed

Looks like a Monarch doesn't it? But it's a Queen butterfly which also feeds on Milkweed and has a black-and-white spotted body.

 

The underside of the Queen is very similar to the that of the Monarch. Even the caterpillar is similar but has three pairs of thread-like tubercles (antennae) on its body. The Monarch has just two pairs, one pair at the head and the other at its tail.

 

Let's get scientific for a moment. Check this out!

"Because scent scales appear largely confined to the male sex, it seems reasonable to assume that male scent plays a role during courtship, and observations on the behavioral idiosyncracies of courtship in different species reveal that males actively use their scent-disseminating devices when courting a female. Tinbergen et al described how the male courtship culminates in a ‘bow’ during which he captures the female’s antennae between his forewings, whereby they are brought into direct physical contact with the male scent producing organ (Tinbergen et al., 1942). Likewise, in the queen butterfly, Danaus gilippus berenice, Brower et al. described how the male performs a courtship flight just above the female during which he everts his hairpencils and douses... Male monarchs first pursue females in the air, then proceed with aerial ‘hairpencilling’ before performing an aerial takedown just prior to copulation (Pliske,1974). jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/210/6/964.pdf

Who knew? Sex among the butterflies.

 

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Butterfly Garden, Miami, FL

www.susanfordcollins.com

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Taken on January 16, 2011