Currently viewing the category: "swallowtails"

Subject:  Ichneumon
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/06/2021
Time: 5:58 PM EDT
Gentle Readers,
The Swallowtails visiting Daniel’s Ohio garden have been spectacular this year, but they were pretty spectacular last year as well.

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Within a half an hour of one another one evening, Daniel spotted this male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on the butterfly bush Daniel planted last summer, and then a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (she has blue scales on her underwings and he does not) nectaring from the large thistles Daniel is allowing to grow.  The Eastern Goldfinches are having a field day eating their seeds.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

A week later, Daniel dug from his friend Hector’s wild garden, some Joe Pye Weed, Ironweed and Teasel, all attractive to pollinating insects, and the very next day, on August 12, this very tattered female black Eastern Tiger Swallowtail enjoyed the Joe Pye Weed for about a half an hour.  As though she knew she was safe, she allowed Daniel to get quite close and as he got a really good look at the state of her wings, he couldn’t help but to wonder “How ever can she fly?”

Black Eastern Tiger Swallowtail


Subject:  Ichneumon
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/07/2021
Time: 10:56 AM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel has still not had a chance to post all the great insects he has been photographing in Ohio. This Spicebush Swallowtail was quite elusive and would not let Daniel get close.

Spicebush Swallowtail


Subject:  Emerging Anise Butterfly In Trouble
Geographic location of the bug:  West Los Angeles
Date: 08/12/2021
Time: 12:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
I’m honored and humbled by your awarding me the Bug Humanitarian Award. And will endeavor to live up to it.
This morning, an Anise Swallowtail emerged from his chrysalis.  It seemed to me unusual that the chrysalis was formed on the fennel plant on which he hatched and fed, so I’ve kept an eye on him.
This was fortunate as the fennel plant has so many crisscrossing branches that there was not enough room for his wings to hang down and stretch out.
So I gently moved him to a better location and his wings did seem to hang properly. I hope it isn’t too late.
By the way, I’ve called this butterfly him because of his small size. The females I’ve seen ovipositing were much larger. Is this assumption correct?
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Anise Swallowtail

Hi again Jeff,
In our experience with Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, the female is generally larger, and it is entirely possible the same is true for other Swallowtails.

Subject:  Tiger Swallowtail, Black Tiger Swallowtail and Black Swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 07/30/2021
Time: 3:30 PM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel has been enjoying seeing butterflies of his youth growing up east of Youngstown on the Pennsylvania border.  Daniel’s mother Pearl’s garden has gotten greatly overgrown, but some of that growth consists of native flowering plants, though Daniel has vowed to dig up some Joe Pye Weed and Ironweed to add to the native meadow plants that have begun to proliferate.  The first Swallowtail Daniel was able to photograph was an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on PHlox

Daniel’s friend Sharon arrived on Monday and on Tuesday a trip to Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park, Youngstown, Ohio included a sighting of a black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

Black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Zinnia in Mill Creek Park

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtails in Daniel’s garden in Ohio are much more wary that the unusual black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail who allowed Daniel to get many camera angles.

Black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

And just this morning, a female Black Swallowtail visited the large thistle that Daniel has allowed to grow in the meadow garden because so many insects are attracted to it.  Daniel has also seen Goldfinches taking seeds from thistle heads.

female Black Swallowtail


Subject:  Eastern Tiger Swallowtails
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/02/2020
Time: 11:10 AM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel has been called out of town for a family emergency, and low and behold, he has finally entered the 21st Century by purchasing his first mobile phone, and he has been calling the iPhone 11 Pro he just bought his Magic Phone.  The magic phone takes gorgeous digital images, and Daniel has been taking images of the insects found in The Rust Belt.  Here are images of a male and female (blue scales on the underwings) Eastern Tiger Swallowtails that have been visiting the butterfly bush he is planting in his childhood front yard to replace the dead shrubs that are being removed.  Daniel apologizes for ignoring the numerous identification requests that have been flooding in, but family obligations are currently taking up most of his time.  Daniel hopes to also get some images of the Spicebush Swallowtails that he has seen in the past week.

The male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is smaller and lacks the blue scales on the underwings.

The larger female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail has beautiful blue scales on the underwings.

Subject:  Yellow or Anise Swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  West Los Angeles
Date: 05/14/2020
Time: 05:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
Is this a yellow swallowtail or an anise swallowtail (or are they the same)? She’s laying her eggs on a fennel plant.
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Anise Swallowtail Ovipositing

Dear Jeff,
Please forgive our tardy response.  According to the Jeffrey Glassberg book
Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, the Anise Swallowtail has both a dark and a light or yellow form, and they are not designated as  distinct subspecies.  The two color forms exist over much of the species’ range.  According to BugGuide, there are two subspecies and BugGuide notes:  “There has been a lot of debate over the years as to whether the inland populations of P. zelicaon are different enough to consider as a distinct subspecies from ‘typical’ zelicaon from closer to the Pacific. Also, it is debated, assuming there is a difference, just what the difference is, and where one population begins and the other ends.”  We always appreciate your butterfly submissions and we are tagging this submission of an Anise Swallowtail as our Bug of the Month for June 2020.  As a side note, Daniel was excited to find a young Anise Swallowtail caterpillar on a dill umbel in his garden and he watched it grow over the course of a week, only to have it vanish.  The suspected culprit is a Paper Wasp seen patrolling the dill plant the day the caterpillar vanished.