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

Subject: Butterfly in Ann Arbor, MI
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
September 21, 2014 10:52 am
Hello,
I took these pictures on my phone in August at the Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, MI. I just moved to the area so I’m not yet familiar with its wildlife. I have seen lots of black swallowtail caterpillars and butterflies this August and September but I’m not sure if this butterfly is one as well. It doesn’t seem to have the blues, yellows or reds… and it has a band of that white-ish yellow color across its hindwing that I haven’t seen before.
It may have a swallowtail wing shape – I can’t tell. But something interesting about its wings is that it seemed to fold the forewing somewhat independently of the hindwing. I tried to include a picture showing that, but it was hard to catch.
Thank you!
Signature: Butterfly Observer

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail

Dear Butterfly Observer,
The Giant Swallowtail, a native species, has adapted as a caterpillar, called an Orange Dog, to eating the leaves of imported and cultivated citrus trees, and its range has expanded where citrus is grown.  Consequently, it is now more common in the southern portion of its range including Florida, and the expanded western regions all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
  We imagine your Michigan sighting is not a common occurrence.

Wow!!! I’ve heard the name Giant Swallowtail before but I didn’t even know what they look like and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. How exciting! I’m glad I asked you guys. I really love your site- thanks for the work you do!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Transparent-winged butterfly
Location: Mt. Bross 12,000ft elev.
September 7, 2014 12:27 pm
I shot this butterfly on Sept 6, 2014 on Mt. Bross in Park County, colorado at an elevation of about 12,000 ft. I think it’s a Rocky Mtn. Parnassus or maybe a Checkered White. Its wings were mostly clear and it appeared to have no trouble flying around for half an hour before i finally got a few shots if it resting. I’ve never seen a clear-winged butterfly before, do you think it’s a mutation or is it possible that the color somehow got washed off in all the rain we’ve been having this summer.
Signature: Bob

Rocky Mountain Parnassus

Rocky Mountain Parnassus

Hi Bob,
We agree that this is a Rocky Mountain Parnassian,
Parnassius phoebus, a species which Jeffrey Glassberg, in his book Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, calls the Phoebus Parnassian, though he acknowledges it has several subspecies including Parnassius phoebus smintheus.  According to BugGuide, the Rocky Mountain Parnassian is Parnassius smintheus, and BugGuide provides the following information:  “Antenna has alternate black and white rings. Upperside of forewing of females and most males with 2 red or yellow spots beyond the cell. In some males these spots are black.(1)  Often called by the name Parnassius phoebus, a closely related Eurasian species. Many people consider all North American populations to belong to that species, many prefer to separate them. Some authors split North American populations into more than one species; usually two or three, with the northernmost populations included in P. phoebus, and the rest in P. smintheus; or, the Sierra Nevada populations may be separated as Parnassius behrii. These regional ‘species’ are best distinguished by where they are found.”  Isolated populations often exhibit localized variations, so individuals on one mountain may look different from individuals on the next mountain.  Regarding the transparency, we believe this is a result of the loss of scales that might be a natural occurrence in the species as BugGuide includes many images of more transparent individuals.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Giant Swallowtail?
Location: Coryell County, Texas
August 31, 2014 9:18 pm
Hello,
This gorgeous creature visited our Vincas while we were gardening today. Is it a Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes? Today was hot and sunny, mid 90’s.
Thank you!
Signature: Ellen

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail

Hi Ellen,
You are correct that this is a Giant Swallowtail, and we see that you also submitted some images of a Giant Swallowtail in spring 2013.  About seven years ago, we started to notice Giant Swallowtails nectaring on lantana in our garden.  We planted some citrus trees around that time, and this year we have noticed a Giant Swallowtail very interested in the Grapfruit Tree, so we expect if we searched carefully, we might locate some Orange Dogs.

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a Giant Swallowtail?
Location: Fullerton (Orange County) CA
July 31, 2014 8:20 am
Hello;
Here is a better photo of our overnight visitor. It landed on the night blooming jasmine at dusk yesterday and settled in for the night. To my surprise it is still there as of 8 a.m. It is quite large, at about 4″ across, warm black with striking yellow markings. When viewing from the kitchen window slightly above, there is a thin edge of yellow showing on the ‘shoulders’ so that it presents as a heart. It’s beautiful. Thank you for your wonderful website.
Signature: Likes Bugs

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail

Dear Likes Bugs,
You are correct that this is a Giant Swallowtail, a relatively recent resident of Southern California.  The Giant Swallowtail is native to the eastern portion of North America, but the caterpillars, known as Orange Dogs, adapted to feeding on the leaves of orange and other citrus trees, and as the cultivation of citrus spread west, the range of the Giant Swallowtail followed.  We believe they first appeared in Los Angeles in the 1990s.  According to the Los Angeles Times:  “The giant swallowtail butterfly,
Heraclides (Papilio) cresphontes, is native to the Southeast. Since the 1960s, populations have spread west following a corridor of suburban development and the species’ favorite larval food source — citrus — through Arizona, into the Imperial Valley, then San Diego and north to Orange and Los Angeles counties. They’ve been sighted as far north as Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.  Numbers have surged since 2000, says Jess Morton, president of the Palos Verdes-South Bay chapter of the Audubon Society. Members have held a butterfly count at the same location, on the first Sunday in July, every year since 1991. According to their records, a single giant swallowtail was first seen in the South Bay in 2000. They counted 23 in 2007.”  According to the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects:  “Ranges throughout most of the east;  more limited distribution in the southwest, but has expanded into the Los Angeles basin within the past 20 years.”

Thank you so much Daniel. We have two tangerine trees, a lemon, a grapefruit, a valencia orange, and two washington navel oranges on our 8,500 sf lot. So yes, there is lots of citrus here for the larvae.
I found it so interesting that it settled on the leaves, spread it’s wings and went to sleep. It took off when the sun hit it at about 9a this morning. It is the first of that kind I’ve seen here (northern inland hilly Orange County – warmer than the coast.)
The Monarchs on the other hand, are plentiful. We have many milkweed plants for them and they put on a show – photo attached.
Thank you again for your help!
Nancy Rennie

Monarch

Monarch

Hi again Nancy,
It is our observation that Monarchs seem more plentiful this year than they have in recent years.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterflies
Location: Westford, MA
July 29, 2014 3:42 pm
Hello,
A friend of mine was at a butterfly zoo in Westford, MA and she came across several exotic species that she wanted identified
Signature: Collin

Birdwing Butterfly

Golden Birdwing Butterfly

Dear Collin,
Butterfly habitats are not natural settings for butterflies, and it can be difficult to identify unknown species without knowing the country of origin, which is one method we use to search for identifications.  Additionally, the quality of your friend’s images is very poor, which is also detrimental for identification purposes.  We do know that one image is of a Birdwing Butterfly in the tribe Troidini.  It appears to be in the genus
Troides.  You can compare your image to this image of a female Troides rhadamantus from the Goliathus website.  As you can see from this FlickR image, the Golden Birdwing, which is the common name for Troides rhadamantus, is a resident in the Chicago Botanic Garden Butterfly House, which is a good indication it can be found in other butterfly habitats that often use the same breeders to obtain stock.  Let your friend know that butterfly habitats often have displays with images that assist in identifying the residents.  The Westford Butterfly Place has a website with a gallery.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mating Swallowtails
Location: New Cambria, Missouri
July 25, 2014 3:45 am
I took this photo yesterday of these two different (species?) of Swallowtails mating. Is this common? Can it result in viable offspring or a hybrid butterfly?
P.S. LOVE this website. It has been very informative.
Signature: Denise

Mating Tiger Swallowtails

Mating Tiger Swallowtails

Dear Denise,
The Tiger Swallowtails in your image are actually the same species.  The dark individual in the image is the female.  Though most female Tiger Swallowtails are yellow with black stripes, a small percentage of female Tiger Swallowtails are known as dark morphs, and even though the bold tiger striping is not evident, close inspection reveals a black on black striping pattern.  There are also examples of transitional coloration that fall between the light and dark morphs, and even more unusual are hermaphroditic gyandromorphs that contain traits of both sexes and which sometimes exhibit a combination of light male attributes and dark female attributes.  One final note, even without considering black morphs, Tiger Swallowtails are a sexually dimorphic species.  Female Tiger Swallowtails have blue dusting on the hindwings while male Tiger Swallowtails lack the blue coloration.  We are highlighting your posting on our scrolling feature bar. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination