How to Tell the Difference Between a Male and Female Monarch Butterfly

For Devera, who wrote in yesterday asking how to tell the difference between a male and female Monarch Butterfly ~

Click photos to view large.

The first photos shows all male Monarch Butterflies necatring at Seaside Goldenrod. Notice the pair of little black pockets, or dots, on the inner vein of the hind wings. These are pockets of pheromones, or what scientists actually refer to as “love dust,” which the male sprinkles on the female during courtship.

The female Monarch Butterfly lacks the the black pockets on her hind wings. Notice too that her wing veination is thicker and smokier.

During courtship, male and female join, and he carries her to higher ground. This photo shows the male and female mating, with the male above.

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