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Queen Butterfly

Posted May 23, 2013. Photo courtesy of Carmen Sanchez.

It’s no question the queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus) reigns as one of the more beautifully decorated insects. Though commonly mistaken for a monarch butterfly, this elegant species has a deep chestnut color and pale forewing veins. Monarchs are orange with prominent black forewing veins.

The queen caterpillar feeds on poisonous milkweed plants and picks up toxins, which give it an unpleasant taste. The Queen’s bright orange and spotted wings tell hungry animals, “Don’t eat me!”

Starting May 24, enjoy this butterfly and more than thirty other species fluttering in the PNM Butterfly Pavilion, a free-flying butterfly exhibit with over 500 butterflies, colorful flowers and informative staff answering butterfly questions.

What butterflies have been visiting your garden? Tell us on Facebook.

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