The monarch butterflies will soon be returning to the Shenandoah Valley - some may be here already- as they make their migration north from their overwintering forests in Mexico. The viceroy (Limenitis archipus), the look-alike to the monarch, is here already as they can be seen about 15 days after poplar and willow trees (their host plants) leaf out.
The easiest way to tell the two apart is the viceroy has a black band on its hindwings. They tend to be just a little smaller than the monarch and they fly directly to their target in comparison to the monarch flight pattern which tends to be more floating with a typical glide-flap-flap habit.
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