Thursday, June 21, 2018

"I saw a Monarch!" "Are you sure?"

It's that time of year for the Monarch Butterflies to make their way North to Canada! Keep your eyes peeled Oregonians and Washingtonians for them! One has been sighted in Vancouver, WA, so it's very possible we will catch a glimpse of them in the Willamette Valley.

We get a lot of people each year who insist they have seen 'a yellow Monarch'.  More often than not, these are Swallowtail butterflies, which are just as large and elegant looking, but morphologically quite different! There are many types of Swallowtails, but this is a good comparison photograph. Notice the swallowtail has little wing extensions while the Monarch has rounded off wings.

Monarch butterflies are very much a deep fiery orange, especially when viewed from above. If you saw them side by side with a Swallowtail butterfly, you would be certain of what you saw! Here is a photo of a  Monarch from the side - the side colors of a Monarch are a bit more subdued on the lower wings, but they are definitely a golden orange.
Photo by Jim Hudgins
Hope that helps with Monarch identification and good luck! Have you seen any Monarch butterflies this year? Let us know!

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