Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Tropical Queen 热带蝴蝶皇后 (Family Nymphalidae, Brush-footed Butterfly)

Here is a butterfly that seems to have been brought to America by the white man with the slave trade, for it was soon after the slaving ships came from Africa that this wonderful wanderer of the Old World tropics appeared. Its other name is the “Mimic” because it has achieved its great success by mimicking or copying the appearance of a poisonous butterfly of the Old World, Danaus chrysippurs, which looks very much like our own Monarch. So in America also its life must often be saved because it looks a bit like the poisonous Monarch.

The Tropical Queen is now spreading completely around the world through the tropics, but it is still not nearly so common in America as it is in Africa, Tropical Asia, and northern Australia. Whether it ever becomes as common may depend on how much birds and other enemies mistake it for the poisonous Monarch. It has spread to the West Indies, Central and Northern South America and southern Florida.

The caterpillar lives on mallows, purslanes and morning glory plants. It has two large, rough spines on its head to frighten off enemies, and many other smaller spines on its body.

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