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Danaus eresimus facts for kids

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Soldier
Danaus eresimus eresimus MHNT dos.jpg
Danaus eresimus
Danaus eresimus eresimus MHNT ventre.jpg
Ventral view same specimen △
Scientific classification
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D. eresimus
Binomial name
Danaus eresimus
(Cramer, 1777)

The Soldier or Tropical Queen (Danaus eresimus) is a North American and South American butterfly. It is in the family Nymphalidae. Their flight is slow and they are easy to approach. They will fly for some distance if approached too closely.

Description

The upper side of the wings is a dark reddish-brown color. The fore wing (the top wing) sometimes has white spots along the edge. The veins are lightly marked with black. The male has a black patch on his hind wing (the bottom wing). This spot releases scents to help the female find and mate with the male. This spot is called an androconium (plural, androconia). The underside of the wings is also a dark brown color. There is a band made up of square shaped spots in the center of the hind wing. The Soldier has a wingspan of 2½ to 3½ inches.

Similar species

Similar species in the Soldier's range include the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) and the Queen (Danaus gilippus).

The Monarch is more orange. It has heavier black-lined veins. The underside of the wings is a pale yellowish color.

The Queen has nearly no black-lined veins. On the fore wing it has white spots on both surfaces of the wings.

Habitat

The Soldier may be found in a variety of open, subtropical habitats such as citrus groves, weedy water edges, and dry fields.

Flight period

This butterfly my be seen from February to December in southern Florida (it is most common in October to December). In southern Texas, it is seen from August to January.

Life cycle

The eggs are bright orange. The black caterpillar is banded with white and yellow stripes. It has a row of yellowish-tan spots near the top of the body. There are six black, fleshy filaments. The first pair is near the head. The second pair is on the thorax. The third pair is at the end of the abdomen. The chrysalis is very similar to the Monarch's chrysalis. It is very hard to tell the difference between them. It has 3 or more broods per year.

Host plants

Here is a list of host plants that the Soldier caterpillar feeds on:

  • Morrenia odorata - Strangler Vine
  • Sarcostemma clausum - White Vine
  • Spigelia anthelmia - West Indian Pinkroot
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