Limenitis archippus (Cramer, 1776)
Life   Insecta   Lepidoptera   Nymphalidae   Limenitis

Click on map for details about points.


    We parsed the following live from the Web into this page. Such content is managed by its original site and not cached on Discover Life. Please send feedback and corrections directly to the source. See original regarding copyrights and terms of use.
  • University of Michigan
  • CalPhotos

go to Discover Life's Facebook group

Following modified from University of Michigan
   Top | See original

Animal Diversity Web

University of Michigan Museum of Zoology University of Michigan

More Information

Additional Information

Limenitis archippus

By Jennifer Roof

Geographic Range

The viceroy ranges from central Canada through the eastern United States, into the Cascade Mountains and northern Mexico.


Viceroys prefer open or slightly shrubby areas that are wet or near water. These include wet meadows, marshes, ponds and lakes, railroad tracks, and roadsides.

  • Aquatic Biomes
  • lakes and ponds
  • rivers and streams

Physical Description

In areas of the viceroy's range where monarchs are common, the viceroy tends to mimic the pattern of the monarch (Danaaus plexippus) with black striping and orange areas similar to a monarch. The viceroy can be distinguished from the monarch, however, by one row of white spots within the black fore and hind wing bands. In areas inhabited by the Queen (Danaus glippus), the white spotting of the viceroy becomes less noticeable, and the orange coloration is replaced by a deep mahogany brown.


Mating occurs in the afternoon, and the female is the egg carrier. She deposits one egg onto the tip of a leaf and chooses only leaves that have not been eaten by other insects. She deposits about three eggs per sapling.


The viceroy has a slow flap and glide flight pattern. Males exhibit a perch-patrol behavior, in which they perch on the ground or low vegetation for a short time, then patrol a 20 m distance to another perch. They continue this behavior back and forth through the same area. If two males meet in the same area, they will abruptly soar 50 m or more into the air.

Food Habits

Larvae feed on various types of willows and poplars. Viceroys produce three generations per year, and the food habits of each generation differs. The first brood consume carrion, decaying fungi, and animal dung. Later generations are more often observed at flowers of plants, such as joe-pye weed, aster, Canada thistle, shepherd's needle, and goldenrod. This difference is likely due to the colder, wetter conditions experienced by the first generation.

Conservation Status

The viceroy has a wide range and is not threatened.

Other Comments

The scientific community is divided on whether the viceroy is a Batesian mimic (a butterfly that is palatable, but mimics an unpalatable species to avoid predation) or a Mullerian mimic (a mimicry involving two unpalatable species). A recent study has shown the viceroy is less palatable than either of the species it mimics, the monarch and queen butterflies, meaning those species most likely benefit more from the mimicry than the viceroy.


Jennifer Roof (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


Opler, Paul A. and Krizek, George O. Butterflies East of the Great Plains. The John Hopkins University Press, 1984.

Ritland, David B. and Brower, Linccoln P. "The Viceroy is not a Batesian Mimic". Nature. Vol.350, 1991.

Take our survey! Help us improve the site!


Navigation Links



To cite this page: Roof, J. 1999. "Limenitis archippus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed August 21, 2014 at

Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students . ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts. While ADW staff and contributors provide references to books and websites that we believe are reputable, we cannot necessarily endorse the contents of references beyond our control.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grants DRL 0089283, DRL 0628151, DUE 0633095, DRL 0918590, and DUE 1122742. Additional support has come from the Marisla Foundation, UM College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Museum of Zoology, and Information and Technology Services.

The ADW Team gratefully acknowledges their support.

Following modified from CalPhotos
   Top | See original

&pull 20q v4.662 20091102: Error 500 Can't connect to (Connection refused)

Updated: 2014-08-21 12:07:27 gmt
Discover Life
© Designed by The Polistes Corporation