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Queen Vs. Monarch Butterfly

One of the things I love about my photography hobby is that I am always learning. Yesterday I posted a photo of a Monarch Butterfly. Well, come to find out, it’s not a Monarch but a Queen Butterfly. Apparently, these two butterflies are frequently confused. One needs to see a fully displayed butterfly with its wings spread open in order to identify them properly. So, I went back through the photos I deleted and found this one. I think this is a male Southwestern Queen butterfly.

Here are some things to look for when determining whether the butterfly is a Monarch or a Queen. Queens are a darker, richer shade of orange, and their wing patterns are quite different. With their wings open, the two are easy to tell apart, since Queens lack the black veining in their wings. Queens are also smaller than Monarchs. Another consideration in identifying these butterflies is range. Monarchs have a much wider range, and in most parts of the country you’re more likely to see them than Queens. Queens are more common in the southern parts of the country, though in mid-summer when the temperatures soar, you’ll occasionally find them as far north as North Dakota. I hope this helps the next time you see a butterfly like this.

Queen Butterfly
Queen Butterfly

This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens set on 400mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/400th of a second and the ISO set at 200. This is a single photograph processed in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro.

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T. Kahler Photography
© 2016 T. Kahler Photography

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2 thoughts on “Queen Vs. Monarch Butterfly”

  1. He’s a beauty! Now that you know what to look for, you’ll regularly see them misidentified, including environmental publications. There is even a Monarch Grocery in East Austin with a big sign showing a Queen. I don’t have the heart to tell them! Ha!

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