Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – A Monarch?


For several days/weeks a single orange and black butterfly had flitted through the yard. It never stopped anywhere in the yard but it was beautiful to watch. From a distance I couldn’t tell if it was a Viceroy or a Monarch. I guessed it was a Viceroy, since there had been several in the yard last year.

Here’s a few photos from last year:

When I took these pictures last year, I had been so excited seeing these, as I thought they were Monarchs. After studying the pictures and various resources, I determined these were Viceroys. The only way I could tell last year was by the fine black line that goes across the wings. Not a monarch, but just as beautiful.

Are there other differences between a Monarch and a Viceroy? Yes there are! But not as easily seen.

  • The above noted thin second stripe on the wings
  • Viceroy is a bit smaller
  • Monarch’s caterpillars are yellow and brown where as the Viceroy looks like a green twig
  • Plants from the willow family are a favorite of the Viceroy, but a Monarch prefers Milkweed
  • Flight styles are a bit different as well – the Monarch has a smooth almost floating style where the Viceroy’s flight patter is more erratic


Here’s the photos of what I believe to be a Monarch that came for a visit.

There aren’t any milkweeds nearby, that I have seen, so I was very surprised to see these. I’m going to have to check around to see if I can find any milkweeds. If there are some, then there might just get to be more Monarchs in the area next year. I am VERY hopeful! I will keep you posted. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog – hope you enjoy it!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

5 thoughts on “Back Yard Photographer – A Monarch?

  1. I haven’t seen too many monarchs in my backyard this summer, but I did notice these stunning black butterflies with some light blue tones. One plus side to having moved a few times in the last few years is noticing the different critters, which everyone else is already used to!

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