Milkweed Butterflies (Danaus)
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The Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippusis) one of three Danaus or milkweed butterflies commonly found in the United States, have a narrow range, living in Midwest and Southeast milkweed habitat.
Field identification can be easy or difficult, depending on location. In areas where Queens and Soldiers overlap, identification can be tricky because the wings of both species share similar physical characteristics.
The top picture shows a top view of the Queen's wings. The chestnut colored wings lack the black veins visible in the Soldier butterfly.
The second picture shows a side view of the wings, with thick black stripes and white spots along the edges. Generally the side view of the wings show a consistent chestnut color, compared to a side wing view of the Soldier.
Only in the butterfly world do monarchs and queens outnumber soldiers.
In fact, the Soldier Butterfly (Danaus eresimus) is the least wide spread of the three milkweed butterfly species in the United States, found in South Florida, Texas and Arizona.
They look very similar to Queens. A top view, not shown here, reveals some dark veins on the chestnut colored wings. Queens lack those dark veins.
The side view picture at the top shows a distinct watermark on the hindwing. That watermark is absent in Queens.
Queens and Soldiers often nectar together in areas where their territories overlap. Because they tend to keep their wings folded, checking the wings for a watermark is a good way to differentiate between the two species.
The Monarch Butterfly, probably the most recognizable member of the group, ranges across the United States.
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