Black And Blue Butterfly
July 14, 2009
I went out to a friend’s house this weekend, located in Middle Of Nowhere, Northwest Michigan, and we were followed around all day by this guy. It was up at her stables, fluttering around the mud, and didn’t seem at all bothered by the fact that we were bathing horses on top of it for almost two hours. In between horses I managed to snap a few shots and two short videos, but this was the only picture that turned out. I had to just zoom and hope since it was not very keen on holding still (thus no size indicator either). It was about as big as a monarch butterfly, and we think it is some kind of swallowtail because of the teardrop shapes on the bottoms of its wings, but I’ve only ever seen them in black and yellow around here. The underside/outside of its wings was bla ck with some rusty-orange colored markings.
You are correct about this being a Swallowtail. It is a Spicebush Swallowtail, Papilio troilus. It appears to be a male and he is puddling. Sometimes newly emerged male Swallowtails and other butterflies congregate around areas of moisture. They drink the moisture to ingest important salts and minerals.