Monarch Butterfly or Impostor?

I’ve been fascinated by Monarch butterflies ever since I was a child. It must be because they were so plentiful in Ontario where I grew up. It was so summery to watch them flit about in the yard and fields on our farm. The caterpillars were equally bountiful. I guess it was because of the abundance of milkweed plants dotting the fields around our house. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the beauty of the chrysalis that my mom or dad once found for me, hanging so gracefully under a leaf.

I distinctly remember the colour – it was the same milky turquoise colour, just like the water in images of Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta. I’ve seen many pictures of chrysalises since (weird spelling for plural, I had to look it up!), but that colour is something to behold in real life. And that delicate band that glimmers like a 14 karat gold necklace crowning the top of the chrysalis…..wow! What was Mother Nature’s intent with that spectacular adornment? It is still mostly a mystery in the scientific community.

When you encounter a Monarch, you need to make sure you’ve made a correct identification. I see many pictures on the internet incorrectly labelled. The Viceroy butterfly is often confused with the Monarch, but it has an extra black vein cutting across its hind wings and looks like this:

320px-Limenitis_archippus_Cramer

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viceroy_butterfly

Here is a picture of a female Monarch I took as it was warming up on the sun drenched pebbles on a beach in Georgian Bay, Ontario.

Monarch Butterfly (800x600)

 

It must be as a result of these vivid childhood memories that the Monarch has remained so prominent in my mind, and was the inspiration for creating my Monarch butterfly puzzle. Follow me on Pinterest where I have a board devoted to images of Monarchs at difference stages of the lifecycle.

http://pinterest.com/puzzleheads/

Take a close look next time you see a “Monarch” – is it the real thing, or is it an impostor?

Happy hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

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