What is the difference between the Monarch Butterfly and the Viceroy?

Excellent analogy.

A Network of Ideas

What did I learn:

In an episode of “Lie to Me,” Dr. Lightman compares people to the Monarch and Viceroy butterflies. The Monarch butterfly and the Viceroy butterfly are nearly identical and often mistaken for each other. However, the Monarch is toxic, due to its diet of milkweed, while the Viceroy is non-toxic. Because they are so similar, a predator often mistakes one for the other and avoids both since it assumes they are poisonous.

In this case, the Viceroy is known as the “mimic;” while the Viceroy is not poisonous, it benefits from looking like the Monarch butterfly and is able to avoid predators.  If a bird eats a Monarch first and discovers that it is poisonous, then it will avoid eating Monarchs and Viceroys in the future. However, if a bird preys on the non-poisonous Viceroy first, then it will continue going after the butterflies until…

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3 responses to “What is the difference between the Monarch Butterfly and the Viceroy?

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