Subject: Oregon Swallowtail
December 14, 2013
I’ll enclose the Oregon versions (it’s the state insect there). Sadly my camera then was not as good.
Signature: Curious Girl
Hi Curious Girl,
Thanks for sending this image of a Swallowtail you photographed in Oregon, however, it is noticeably different from the Old World Swallowtail images we posted a few days ago. The Old World Swallowtail, Papilio machaon, is also found in North America, and according to BugGuide: “The various subspecies included here under the name Papilio machaon have been (and contunue to be) treated differently by different authors. The most commonly seen alternate classification would have the subspecies bairdii, dodi, oregonius, and pikei placed as subspecies of a distinct species Papilio bairdii, and the more boreal subspecies would be left under the species Papilio machaon. There are good reasons for doing this, but the majority of workers currently place them all under one species. There are also still some people who would prefer to see each name treated individually at species ranking, though this is not widely accepted practice. The result is that these butterflies may be listed under a number of different name combinations, depending upon the preferences of the individual author.” According to State Symbols USA, the Oregon Swallowtail is the state insect of Oregon, but according to BugGuide, it is actually a subspecies of the Old World Swallowtail. The Old World Swallowtail is easily confused with the Anise Swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon, which is also found in Oregon. The butterfly in this photograph is neither of those species, and though we are uncertain of its exact identification because of the quality of the photo, we are guessing it is either a Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus, or a Pale Swallowtail, Papilio eurymedon.