Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Monarchs and Skippers

The garden bloom season is winding down, and the only thing I have flowering right now at home are butterfly bushes, although the vernonia and turtleheads I planted last year are just about to break into bloom.   There were still several butterflies around to make me smile.

 Monarch (male)

 Tawny-edged Skipper

Tawny-Edged Skipper

Did you notice this Peck's Skipper only has one antenna?  It made me wonder what butterfly antennae are used for and what disadvantage this skipper would be at surviving with just one.  Butterfly antennae are used for the sense of smell and balance.  Butterfly antennae typically have a small club at the end; moth antennae do not.  The butterflies I have seen that have survived damage from attacks usually sport rear wing damage - tears, missing pieces, etc.  I did see a posting this summer of a headless butterfly still flying around....  So, sometimes they are attacked from the front.  Wouldn't you love to know this skipper's story?

Peck's Skipper

Peck's Skipper

Monarch (female)


Peck's Skipper


  1. What's the difference between monarch and viceroy?

    1. The color and pattern of the viceroy mimics the monarch butterfly's exactly except for a black horizontal stripe that crosses the bottom of its back wings. Surprisingly, it is NO relation to it at all! Monarchs' coloring means "poison" to most predators, so the Viceroy is getting safety through its mimicry.