Mystery swallowtail
April 19, 2010
This has been a banner spring (2010) in Virginia for tiger swallowtails, our state insect. Both yellow and dark morphs have been crawling all over my azaleas, lilacs, and crabapples. But late in the day on April 6, this critter flew to my Sargent crabapple and caught my attention… and luckily my camera was handy. I can’t find any photos of swallowtails that have such prominent “eye spots” on the upper wing. The swallow-tails are blurry in the photo, but they were prominent; are there butterflies with swallow-tails that aren’t Swallowtails?
Louisa County, Virginia, USA

Tiger Swallowtail

Hi Winston,
This is a Tiger Swallowtail, which you point out has females that can be either light or dark, but occasionally an individual arises that can’t seem to make up its mind if it is light or dark, and an intermediate morph is produced.  This is one of those rarities.  We received another example back in August 2008, and it had more light coloration than your example, but it is similar.  Thanks for sending this wonderful anomaly our way.

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