Papilio Glaucus turnus dark form morph
Location: northern VA
July 21, 2010 9:22 am
Hi, I believe I have just found a rare Papilio Glaucus turnus (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) female dark form morph. In 60 years, I have not seen one save for the two photos on your website, neither of which appear to be the same as mine. I just wanted to share the marvel. Do you have anything to add?
Dear Amateur Lepidopterist,
Sadly, we were running late for work this morning, and though we opened your letter and saw your lovely mounted specimen images of an individual in a transitional phase between the normal light morph and the dark morph. The true dark morph of a female Tiger Swallowtail is not as plentiful as the typical light yellow and black striped beauty. The dark morph has a low contrast between the dark ground and the slightly darker stripes. In the past several years, we have received two other examples of intermediary phases, and as these transitional morphs may be nearer to each of the extremes, which explains like our older examples are different than yours. One example from earlier this year is of a living specimen that favors the darker morph. An earlier example from 2008 is almost halfway between the two variations in coloration, with the black concentrated at the edges of the wings. Your individual favors the light normal morph with just the centers of the wings being darker. Thanks again for sending your photos. We think it is interesting that these color variations, which only occur in female Tiger Swallowtails, exhibit such a wide range of possibilities. This might make for an revealing genetics study.
P.S. We do not condone insect collecting for anything but scientific purposes. You should look up the proper format for labeling mounted specimens, and you should keep very specific records on the time and location and even weather conditions of the capture.
Ed. Note: When we sent a brief offline response to Amateur Lepidopterist this morning, here is what we wrote: “Only that I am running out of the house to go to work and I wish I had the fifteen minutes it will take to post this right now. I will post your letter this evening or tomorrow morning. It is lovely and beautifully mounted. Daniel“