Currently viewing the category: "swallowtails"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Lots of Butterflies!!!
Location: Powell, Ohio
August 4, 2015 11:13 am
Two yellow swallowtails (I think), and a monarch, visited our garden today!!!! One swallowtail was noticeably bigger than the other and a bit raggedy. The monarch wasn’t cooperating for pictures, kept flirting about, but I got one off when it rested in a tree. The monarch was very interested in the milkweed plant we let grow by the patio! So pretty!
Signature: Amber

Female Tiger Swallowtail

Female Tiger Swallowtail

Dear Amber,
Thanks for sending us documentation of your day of butterfly watching.  The tattered Tiger Swallowtail is a female who can be distinguished from the male by the dusting of blue scales on the hind wings.

Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtail

Monarch

Monarch

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Western Tiger Swallowtail
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 31, 2015 9:46 AM
Several years ago we lamented that we were not able to capture any images of the Western Tiger Swallowtails that fly around the garden.  Today we got some early morning images of this individual.  The morning haze cleared and the sun had just begun to shine.  The Swallowtail was warming in the sun on the cypress, and it appears that it had narrowly escaped at least one predator since not only the swallowtail, but fully half of each of the hind wings is missing.

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Western Tiger Swallowtail

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Likely swallowtail butterfly
Location: Texas? Unknown
July 20, 2015 5:01 pm
Hello!
My niece recently asked me about a specimen she was given by another family who likely collected it in Texas or Arkansas. It looks like a swallowtail, but the double row along the wing margins (especially clear on hind wings) has me stumped. Thought maybe a dark form, but I am totally in the dark!
Signature: Puzzled Auntie

Red Spotted Purple

Red Spotted Purple

Dear Puzzled Auntie,
Your confusion is understandable.  The lovely Red Spotted Purple is thought to mimic the presumably distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail for protection.

Jessica M. Schemm, J Amber Z Vartorella, Mary Lemmink Lawrence, Kim Estes, Mary Sheridan Page Fatzinger liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Insect I.D.
Location: Southern Utah
March 31, 2015 12:38 pm
Cocoon found under lid of unused garbage can…..I carefully protected and waited to see what came out. Cocoon was gray/black and I expected a moth with little color. What a surprise! Appears to be big Swallowtail Moth, 4-5 inches tip to tip. I can’t find anything exactly like it searching the Web.
I don’t know if this critter is kind of rare down here – Ivins, Utah.
Signature: Kent P.

Two Tailed Swallowtail

Two Tailed Swallowtail

Hi Kent,
This Two Tailed Swallowtail,
Papilio multicaudatus, is a butterfly, not a moth.  According to the Utah Bug Club:  “Two Tailed Swallowtail butterflies are large and gorgeous and can occasioanlly be found patrolling neighborhoods that have ash trees (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) growing along the street. These same ash trees serve as the larval host plant for this butterfly. Adults appear on the wing from mid-May through July with a few fresh adults appearing for a small second flight in September. Although finding adults of the Two-Tailed Swallowtail is somewhat inconsistent in our cities, males can usually be found with much more regularity cruising our canyons and ravines in May and June. Caterpillars can be found on choke cherry (Prunus virginiana) from June through August in the mountains.”  BugGuide provides this information:  “Trivia: This is probably the largest species of Butterfly in North America, with spread specimens sometimes pushing 6 inches in wingspan. However, the Giant Swallowtail – Papilio cresphontes (which definitely averages smaller) is consistently listed as the largest species, and indeed some females of that species can reach very large proportions as well. Occasionally nearly as large is also the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus. So, on an average, everyday basis, P. multicaudatus is largest, but as for the largest specimen recorded, it is probably an open contest.”  By all accounts, this is a early sighting.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterfly Identification
Location: Costa Rica cloud forest, elevation approx. 5500 feet.
March 15, 2015 7:30 pm
Any thoughts on what butterfly this might be? At first, I thought it was a Heliconius pachinus but the pinkish markings on the wings don’t seem to be consistent with that species.
Signature: Jackie C.

Ruby Spotted Swallowtail

Cattleheart Swallowtail

Dear Jackie,
This is actually one of the Swallowtail Butterflies, probably a Ruby Spotted Swallowtail,
Papilio anchisiades.  According to Keith Wolfe who often responds to caterpillar identification queries we receive:  “This abundant and widespread swallowtail is commonly found in areas disturbed by human activities.”  We are surmising that your sighting might be associated with an eco-tourism trip.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for the identification help.   I’ve been coming across all kinds of new creatures since moving from the US to Costa Rica and some are quite challenging to identify!   Thanks for doing what you do… and love your website!
Have a great rest of the day!
Jackie

Correction:  Thanks to Richard Stickney of LifeandScience.org for providing us with the correct identification of this Cattleheart Swallowtail in the genus Parides.

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Subject: Furry Western Tiger Swallowtail
Location: Red Car Property, Silver Lake (Los Angeles)
March 9, 2015 12:28 am
Hi Daniel,
As you may have heard, we’re having a butterfly bonanza in Silver Lake this year. Today’s question is more about function than ID. Why do the Western Tiger Swallowtails have so much fur? It would seem not so aerodynamic . Photo attached was taken on the Red Car Property March 5, 2015. It was supper furry, as was the one I the week before in my backyard:
http://redcarproperty.blogspot.com/2015/02/corralitas-drive-western-tiger.html
Both seemed to be sunning themselves in the morning sun on very warm days on broad leafed, non-native plants (wild geranium & nasturtium).
Signature: Diane E

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Good Morning Diane,
The physical feature of “fur” on butterflies is not confined to Swallowtails, but since Swallowtails are so large, it is more easily noticed.  Alas, we don’t know why this trait has developed, nor do we know what purpose it serves.  We will post your image and hope one of our readers is able to enlighten us.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination