Project Description

Attributes of Danaus Gilippus, Queen

Family: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Subfamily: Milkweed Butterflies (Danainae)

Identification: Upperside is chestnut brown; black borders of forewings have 2 rows of white spots; white spots are scattered at the forewing apex. Underside of hindwing has black veins; black borders of both wings have 2 rows of white spots. Upperside of male hindwing has a black scale patch. Very similar to the Soldier (Danaus eresimus), but is more brown and has less defined wing veins on the upperside. Underside hindwing lacks band of pale spots present in the Soldier. Queens in the southwest (and sometimes in the southeast) have pale veins on the upperside of the hindwings, which are lacking in the Soldier.

Life history: To find females, males patrol all day. Females lay eggs singly on leaves, stems, and flower buds; which the caterpillars eat. Adults roost communally.

Flight: All year in Florida and South Texas, July-August in the north.

Wing span: 2 5/8 – 3 7/8 inches (6.7 – 9.8 cm).