Caterpillar Identification Quiz
A Case of Mistaken Identity

This is a queen, not a monarch!
After inspecting a photo that was labeled as a monarch larva found in northern Mexico, we heard from Mike Quinn, Invertebrate Biologist of Texas Parks and Wildlife of Texas: "This is a queen, not a monarch larva!" he exclaimed.

How could he tell this tiny larva, only a few millimeters long, was not a monarch? Here's your chance to learn:

What's Wrong With That Picture?
Caterpillar Identification Quiz

Inspect the two larvae below. One is a monarch larva and the other a queen. (These large larvae are at the 5th instar stage, the last stage of growth before the chrysalis forms. However, the same field mark that distinguishes the two can be seen on the tiny larva that was misidentified.)

larva_queen_Quinn Monarch_Summer2002_047
Queen Larva
Monarch Larva

Journaling Questions

  • How can you tell the difference between a monarch larva and a queen? What characteristic can be used to separate the two?
  • Draw a Venn Diagram to help you identify similarities and differences between the two species.

National Science Education Standards

Ask a question about objects, organisms, events. (K-4)

Science investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing that to what scientists already know about the world. (K-4)

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