Summer outdoor life

What kind of swallowtail is this?

A tiger swallowtail next to the mystery man

I saw this odd swallowtail a few days ago while watering my outside plants.  There is always a ton of butterflies on the pink phlox in front of the garage, and I knew right away that I had never seen this kind before.

Thank heavens for a handy camera and google. With a few clicks (I knew it was a swallowtail) I discovered that it is called a giant swallowtail.  Not a very creative name, I know, but it is the biggest swallowtail found in the continental US.  Males can get to be 7″, but I don’t think this one was quite that large.  The caterpillar stage looks like a large blob of bird poop!

It is found across the country though mainly in the eastern half and especially in Florida – not surprisingly because the caterpillar likes to feed on citrus leaves.  I really hope to see one again.  I’ll be keeping my eye on the phlox.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Des
    Aug 06, 2019 @ 12:00:46

    Gorgeous photos, Ruth! Pretty sure I’ve never seen butterflies like those before.


    • ruthsartwork
      Aug 06, 2019 @ 20:46:23

      That is a regular tiger swallowtail in the background of the second photo. I see quite a few of those every year. The black one was so striking and I knew I hadn’t seen it before. It didn’t seem extraordinarily large though, so maybe it was a female. I took photos with the action setting on my camera because I knew that fluttering wings would make for blurry ones. Fortunately several turned out.


  2. denisebushphoto
    Aug 29, 2019 @ 18:30:35

    Beautiful flora and butterfly … great captures Ruth!


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