Subject: Dark Swallowtail, Gorgeous
Location: Coryell County, TX
October 18, 2015 11:08 am
Here is a beautiful dark swallowtail. You’ve helped me with identifying a Black Swallowtail before, thank you!
I looked at your site and at Bug Guide, and I’m thinking that this beauty may be a Pipevine Swallowtail, but I’m far from certain.
It visited the Autumn Sage for the longest time, fluttering like mad almost the entire time.
Thank you so much for your help!
You are correct that this is a Pipevine Swallowtail, and it is not as iridescent as other individuals, which means either the light did not strike it directly, or more likely that it is a female. According to BugGuide: “Male has very iridescent upper surfaces of hindwings. Female has less striking iridescence. Underside has a single median row of orange spots which do not touch each other.” BugGuide also notes: “The Pipevine flutters its wings incessantly while nectaring–I suspect this is part of its mechanisms for advertising distastefulness. (This is original speculation by the author–PC.) Some others in its complex, notably the Black Swallowtail, seem to do this too.” That is very consistent with your observations.