Is this a Red-spotted Purple
May 23, 2010
Love your site and I visit it often!
My daughter found this beauty feeding on this flowering bush around 6:30pm in our backyard, on a warm evening in late May. We live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio and back up to an open field. We recently planted several willow trees and was wondering is that their host plant? It was almost completely black on both sides of the wings, except for the bright iridescent blue patches in the dorsal wings. Or is it a Pipevine or Spicebush Swallowtail? Know your busy, but would love to know, thanks!
New Albany, Ohio
You are correct that this is a Red Spotted Purple, and it is a beautiful specimen. According to BugGuide, the caterpillars feed on: “A variety of deciduous trees: willows and poplars (Willow family), cherries, apples and pears (Rose family), birches (Birch family), oaks and beeches (Beech family), Basswood (Linden family) and others. Also recorded from currant and blueberry bushes“. In our opinion, willow is one of the preferred host trees, so your recent landscaping may have positively contributed to this sighting.