Hi Bugman,
Your help in identifying these two flutterbys would be much appreciated. The golden one is a puzzle. The color looks drab but the wings, when open in the sunlight, are a brilliant gold. At first, I assumed that the black beauty was a black swallowtail. Now, I’m not so certain. Could it be a pipevine or spicebush swallowtail? I’d like to label my pictures correctly. Several of these have been swooping about in our garden this year. I’ve noticed that they tend to chase, or harass, the tiger swallowtails. Friendly or hostile behaviour . . . . would love to know. So glad I discovered your helpful site . . . I hope my pictures will help others “put a name to the face!” Thanks!
Susan B. Naumann

Greater Fritillary Spicebush Swallowtail

Hi Susan,
We must begin by chastising you for not providing us with a location. We do not even want to attempt to identify your Greater Fritillary to the species level without that, and even with a location, that is difficult. One of our favorite writers and amateur lepidopterists, Vladimir Nabokov, has written extensively on this genus in his awesome novel Ada. Suffice to say your Greater Fritillary is in the genus Speyeria. The swallowtail is, we believe, a Spicebush Swallowtail based on the spot patterns. Your photos are quite lovely and a welcome addition.

Hi again, Bugman!
Thanks for the quick response! I apologize for omitting such important information. My Greater Fritillary and Spicebrush Swallowtail pictures were taken in Connecticut. Glad to have the name/spelling correction, too (Spicebrush).

Hi Susan,
Based on your follow-up, we have changed the spelling to Spicebush Swallowtail, though we have seen both spellings in use. This is probably a carryover from our youth, when we referred to this as a Spicebrush Swallowtail. Spicebush Swallowtail seems to make much more sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.