The coloring is variable based on sex. Males are always vibrant yellow with black stripes and borders. Females have two color forms:

Light females are slightly darker yellow with more prominent black markings.

Dark females are almost entirely black, with light blue speckling on the lower wings.

The coloring is black with rows of light yellow spots. It has one red-orange eyespot and several blue spots on each hind wing

Caterpillars are green with black bands containing yellow spots.


Viceroy butterflies have a wingspan of 2.5 to 3.25 inches.

Their coloring is deep orange with black edges and veins and white spots on the black border.

The caterpillar is a mix of green, brown, and cream colors. It has two “horns” on its head that look like knobby antennae.

The range of butterflies in Iowa is vast. Take the time to look up a specific kind as the caterpillars are also a sight to see.