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Butterflies & Moths

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Queen Butterfly

Queen Butterfly
Danaus gilippus

Its wings now fully expanded, the newly emerged Queen butterfly is about to take its first flight.

The Queen is an interesting butterfly because its survival tactic is to mimic the poisonous Monarch butterfly.

Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed leaves which contain a toxin. The caterpillars store the toxin which then passes on to the adult. Any bird that tries to eat a Monarch is left with a bad taste in its mouth and learns to leave the species alone. The similar-looking but non-poisonous Queen butterfly then benefits from the same treatment.