image of mating monarch butterflies for Bug Love page
I came across “What’s That Bug” yesterday and thought you might be interested in the attached image of mating monarch (?) butterflies. I photographed the pair at Grosse Point Lighthouse in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago. The butterflies were coupled for quite some time, at rest and in flight. I am curious if you know whether its the male or female that does the flying, or both … or, well, is it true love that keeps them aloft? Thanks for a great site.
Thanks for sending in your beautiful image. We are going to speculate on your flight question. The male Monarch Butterfly has a black spot, a scent patch, that is easily visible when the wings are opened. It is not as obvious on the underwings, but the butterfly in your photo whose wings are outermost appears to be the male. That butterfly would be in a better position to control flight. Our speculation is that the male butterfly controls flying to a greater degree when the pair is coupled, but we might be wrong.