Subject: Trying to figure out this butterfly
Location: Omaha Nebraska
July 21, 2013 12:18 am
I’ve narrowed it down to black, spicebush, black morph tiger, or pipevine. I was leaning more toward pipevine. I’ve never seen another like it around here, it was just up on my deck one day investigating the cucumber flowers and it rested for a couple of seconds on my parsley and my basil. I saw another post up with similar looking butterfly that you identified as a tiger, but tigers don’t have spots on their body like this one does, do they?
I had to take a picture of it through my sliding window because I didn’t want to scare it off. It just didn’t sit still the entire time it was there so this is the best picture I could take as it paused on my parsley pot.
This is a female Black Swallowtail and you have caught her in the act of depositing an egg on your parsley plant. Compare your image to this photo from BugGuide. Black Swallowtails exhibit sexual dimorphism, and females have blue markings on the hind wings and males do not. According to BugGuide: “Female, with its large blue patches on hindwings, is a mimic of the Pipevine Swallowtail.” Your parsley plant is so lush, and you can probably share the leaves with a developing Black Swallowtail Caterpillar. Parsley and other garden plants in the family Umbelliferae (or Apiaceae) like carrots are favored larval food plants. Another common name for the Black Swallowtail is Parsley Swallowtail and the caterpillar is sometimes called a Carrot Worm.