Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

Common Name begins with:
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Scientific Name begins with:
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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in NYMPHALIDAE:
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comNameQueen by Randy Newman => Fort Macon State Park, 2003-08-14
[View PDF]
Click to enlarge
[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
sciNameDanaus gilippus
Link to BAMONA species account.
mapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
distributionDISTRIBUTION: Though there are scattered records over the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont, it is primarily seen along and near the southern coast. The record from Durham County likely relates to an escaped individual, as the species is kept at butterfly houses and as several observers have actually seen free-flying Queens outside the houses on the grounds of the N.C. Museum of Life and Science. However, the Wake County record came in 1935, long before butterfy houses. Remarkably, in summer 2019, a larva was photographed in the wilds of Buncombe County (in the mountains), and the pupa it formed was also photographed; experts confirmed the identification.
abundanceABUNDANCE: This is primarily a post-breeding southern migrant into NC during the summer and fall. It is normally rare along the immediate coast, north to Carteret County, very rare farther north along the coast, and a casual stray inland to the Fall Line. It is also quite variable in numbers from year to year and is not reported annually. However, it can occasionally be numerous every few summers and falls at Fort Fisher (New Hanover).
flightFLIGHT PERIOD: Essentially only in summer and fall, generally from mid-July to early or mid-November. Migrants (or possibly residents) in summer lay eggs and produce a fall brood of adults. Whether adults seen in July and August are mostly migrants from farther south, or eclosed along the NC coast, is not known, but some individuals in summer are fresh -- suggesting the latter.
habitatHABITAT: Mainly in coastal environments, such as tidal marshes and shrub thickets, and the margins of maritime forests. Probably also other open areas near the coast.
See also Habitat Account for General Apocynaceous Forblands
plantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: Individuals in NC have been seen ovipositing on Gulf Coast Swallow-wort (Pattalias palustre), formerly named as sand-vine (in the genus Cynanchum), which grows in maritime thickets and marshes. This species, not milkweeds (Asclepias spp.), is the main foodplant in NC. Adults nectar on many flowers.
commentsCOMMENTS: This is the southern counterpart of the Monarch, at least in the Gulf states and the Southwest. Even though the species is thought to be mostly a migrant to NC, adults do lay eggs in the state, and some of the individuals seen in 1995 were extremely fresh and may have been raised in-state. In 1998, certainly some of the adults seen came from eggs laid in the state, perhaps by the first brood in July. Hurricane Floyd in September 1999 heavily damaged the Fort Fisher area, and no Queens could be found there in a check in October. However, one was reported at nearby Bald Head Island after the hurricane. We had only one report in 2000, not surprisingly from Fort Fisher, but none in the state in 2001. A few were reported, from Fort Fisher and Shackleford Banks, in 2002; a count of eight individuals at Fort Fisher attests to the continued reproductive success at that site. However, the species has been nearly absent, or at least not reported, from the Fort Fisher area in 2003-04; the colony there might have died out again. Randy Newman had three records in late summer and fall 2005 from Fort Macon State Park in Carteret County, and there were a handful of reports from 2006-2008, all from the coast. There were a remarkable 15 reports in 2009, though most being at Fort Macon State Park. In 2010, there were eight reports, nearly all from Fort Fisher, where the state record count of 31 adults was made on August 28. There were only a few state reports in 2011 and in 2012, but 2013 was a fairly good year in the state, with a total of 11 reports. There was not a single report for the state in 2016. There were a remarkable 30 (!) records in 2019, mainly from Fort Macon, Fort Fisher, and Baldhead Island. There were over 20 reports in 2020, including a stray far north at Pea Island NWR in Dare County.
state_statusSZB
fed_statusG5
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Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo Gallery for Queen
Photo by: Randy Newman
Comment: Fort Macon State Park, Carteret Co.; 2003-Aug-28
Queen - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Randy Newman
Comment: Fort Macon State Park, Carteret Co,; 2003-Aug-13
Queen - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Randy Newman
Comment: Fort Macon State Park, Carteret Co.; 2003-Aug-13
Queen - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Marty Fancy
Comment: 2013-Nov-01, Craven Co.
Queen - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Marty Fancy
Comment: 2013-Nov-01, Craven Co.
Queen - Click to enlarge