Viceroy Butterfly Resting

Viceroy Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lawrence Woods Reserve

Monarchs, especially female Monarchs can be seen doing it. Seeking high grasses, and stopping deep in them, to rest for good stretches of time. This butterfly here is a Viceroy. That meandering rim of black that courses across the hind wings is the first assurance that it’s a Viceroy. We were working the trail edge through Lawrence Woods Reserve in Ohio, and that wetland trail was rich in butterflies, especially those keen on wetland habitat. Viceroys stay close to willows, and willows prefer the guaranteed wetness of wetlands.

Monarchs, Viceroys, Great Spangled Fritillaries, and Wood Nymph butterflies, all can be found resting, hiding in the high grasses of meadows and wetlands. Many a time when I see one securely tucked away in high green, I wonder. Is this behavior the result of conscious decision making by that butterfly or is what you see before you the mechanical response to prescribed behavior determined by genetic programming?

When I earned my BS in Biology, we were nowhere near even asking this kind of question. Are we much ahead of that curve now?