Monarch meets Queen

The monarch butterfly is well-known in New Zealand but until recently I was unaware of another butterfly that looks very similar, albeit not resident in NZ. While browsing a blog that was new to me I came across Queen and Monarch by Steven Kessel (Tucson, Arizona, USA). He has kindly permitted me to use his images and parts of his text. To view the original post of Oct 16, 2016 click on the link above.

Steven explains in his post that at the time of year he took these photos (fall or autumn) the Queen Butterfly is very common whereas Monarchs are scarce. He also advises that these two species of butterfly are close relatives.

NB: Text below that is shown within quote marks is Steven Kessel’s own text.

First, here is Steven’s photo of the Queen:


I thought the Queen butterfly to be very beautiful! The extra white spots on the coloured part of the wings seem to make the Queen look like a star!

“I photographed this individual a few days ago at Tohono Chul Park, a semi-private park on Tucson’s west side. This time of year the park has numerous flowering plants and butterflies, particularly Queens, are present in large numbers.”

And here is Steven’s photo of the Monarch:


“I also photographed this Monarch at Tohono Chul on the same day as I photographed the Queen, sitting on a flower just a few feet from the Queen in the first image. I think that the differences are pretty evident. The Monarch is larger than the Queen and its wings are somewhat longer in proportion to its body than are the Queen’s wings. But, most noticeable is that the colors on its wings are much brighter than those of the Queen. Overall, the Queen is a darker orange in color than is the Monarch. The black veins in the Queen’s wings are prominently bordered with white pigment whereas the Monarch’s veins are either not bordered with white or have minimal white borders. Finally, the Queen has a few white spots against an orange background on its wings. The Monarch, by contrast, only has white surrounded by black.”

“Both species, of course, are beautiful and it is a pleasure to observe both. But, it is especially a pleasure to see the two species intermixed, as was the case on this day.”

Steven’s blog is Sonoran Images : Photography by Steven Kessel


Posted by Exploring Colour (2017). Images and text used with permission.


3 thoughts on “Monarch meets Queen

Add yours

  1. What a beauty, she looks handpainted to perfection! Hope you are both well. On a bit of a blog break as I an finishing a novel (fingers corssed) and have no internet at home yet after the move. So just checking in to say Hi, dami

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dami! We’re so happy to hear from you and its very kind of you to drop us a line! Sure been wondering how things are with you. Wow – a novel! You’re amazing! Wishing you well with your writing! Best wishes from both of us!

      Liked by 1 person

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