Hi, I took this picture of a feeding butterfly in Tanzania last year and was wondering what it was? Iv also included photos of a different butterfly (though I think of the same species) being eaten by what I think is a golden orb spider Many Thanks
Your butterfly is a Swallowtail, probably in the genus Papilio. The spider is a Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila. We did some cursory research to try to identify the species, but we didn’t have much luck. That could take hours. Perhaps one of our readers can supply the information. At any rate, the shots of the Golden Silk Spider capturing and feeding on the Swallowtail are phenomenal.
I think the African butterfly caught by the silk spider may be a milkweed butterfly rather than a swallowtail. I’ll try to get a positive ID at some point later today.
Updated Update: (05/28/2008)
Wow, I owe you a big apology! You were correct, the butterfly victim of the Nephila spider really is a swallowtail, likely a subspecies of Graphium angolanus. It is likely a mimic of one of the milkweed butterflies, hence my confusion:-) I think you’d better let Julian do all the leps from now on! Eric