When you are out and about seeking butterflies, there are moments that require that you stop and marvel, stop and question- and to compare a Viceroy butterfly vs a Monarch.
Upon meeting a fresh Viceroy Butterfly, you: a) Carefully check and see if that black line extends across the last 1/3 of the hindwings b) Confirm that it is smaller than a Monarch Butterfly c) Review in your mind the habitat you are standing in, for Viceroys stay close to wet habitat and they prefer the close presence of their hostplant, Willows d) Roll your mental ‘Rolladex’ to compare your instant Viceroy with the beauty of the other Viceroys that you have seen and shot before d) If the Viceroy is as handsome as this one seen here, you Hope/Pray in your given nanosecond that it tolerates your presence and allows you to shoot away!
When I met this amazing Viceroy in Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, I knew I’d met a very special Viceroy. All of the above happened, and now, I am quite pleased.
Many of us know the beauty of a fresh Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly. When I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I’d go to Nichol Field, their 100+ acre meadow. On those summer mornings I’d often see dozens of Great Spangled Fritillaries, in that amazing meadow. I’d sometimes see Ranger Patrick Adams those mornings, and I’d congratulate him on nurturing such a glorious meadow at Raccoon Creek State Park.
Every once in a while, when I would wade into the chest high grass there, I’d spy a smaller, different Fritillary butterfly. It flew in an almost awkward manner, flew low, and I’d become electrified! A Meadow Fritillary butterfly! Here’s one that cooperated, stopping to nectar while I shot away.
Seeing a Meadow Fritillary was exciting, for others were bemoaning the increasing absence of Meadow Frits. Jeffrey Glassberg in A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America noted an “expanding range in some areas while disappearing from others.” He sure was correct, for they seem to have become much less common in western Pennsylvania.
Seeing a Meadow Fritillary? Energizing!