Currently viewing the category: "swallowtails"

Subject:  Butterfly name
Geographic location of the bug:  South Korea, Gongju city
Date: 07/22/2018
Time: 05:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I know this very big and beautiful butterfly at Yeonmi mountain, Gongju city in South Korea.  I was very surprised to see this as most butterflies are far far smaller.
I’d like to know what kind this is.  Does it belong to the swallowtail species?
Thanks a lot.
How you want your letter signed:  Paul

Alpine Black Swallowtail

Dear Paul,
This is a gorgeous Swallowtail Butterfly.  At first we thought we identified it as
Papilio bianor because of an image on Butterfly Planet, but other images of that species we located online look different.  We believe your individual is the Alpine Black Swallowtail, Papilio maackii, based on this Darwin Sect image and postings on iNaturalist where it states:  “the alpine black swallowtail, is a butterfly of the family Papilionidae. It is found in Central Asia, Japan, China and South Korea.”  There are images and more information on Butterfly Corner.

Wonderful, thanks a lot for the information.  I’ll have to keep my
eyes peeled next time I go walking in that place.

Subject:  Anise Swallowtail on lilac
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Date: 06/05/2018
Time: 11:00 AM EDT
From the window this morning, Daniel thought he saw a Giant Swallowtail on the last bloom on the lilac bush, but upon getting closer with a camera, he was excited to see it was an Anise Swallowtail.

Anise Swallowtail

After getting a few initial images, the Anise Swallowtail alighted on the avocado tree, allowing for a somewhat obstructed view of the ventral surface of the wings.

Anise Swallowtail


Guérande butterfly
Location:  Guérande, France
Date:  April 27, 2018


Yesterday Monique and her sister Michele from France visited for coffee and Michele asked about this lovely butterfly, which we identified as an Old World Swallowtail, Papilio machaon, though the common name is just Swallowtail according to the Butterflies of Britain & Europe where it states:  “Papilio machaon is widespread and common throughout much of the northern hemisphere. It occurs over the whole of continental Europe, eastward across temperate Asia to Japan; in Africa north of the Sahara; and throughout much of North America. In Britain it is locally common on the Norfolk Broads, an area of fenland and lakes in eastern England.
Individuals originating from France occasionally migrate across the English Channel and have been periodically recorded in Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex and the Isle of Wight, but such sightings are very rare – perhaps one or two sightings per year. Genuine migrants can usually be recognised by their faded and worn appearance.  Fresh looking insects seen anywhere apart from Norfolk can be attributed to escaped or deliberately released livestock – both the British subspecies brittanicus and the continental gorganus are commonly reared by hobbyists. ( it is illegal to capture or breed stock of British origin, but nevertheless a widespread practice ).
There are no similar species occurring in Britain.

Subject:  Giant Swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 011:20 AM EDT
This morning from the window, Daniel noticed this Giant Swallowtail land in the meadow out front.  Daniel has learned through the years to get a shot quickly before fine tuning adjustments and camera angle, and sure enough, as he moved closer for a better angle, this beauty flew off.  If memory serves us correctly, Giant Swallowtails, which are native to the eastern United States, first appeared in Los Angeles around 1998.  Cultivation of citrus trees and the adaptation of citrus trees as an acceptable food for the caterpillars have led to this significant range expansion.

Giant Swallowtail


Subject:  What is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Malanda Far North Queensland Australia
Date: 04/18/2018
Time: 04:25 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I am very interested to find out what caterpillar this is
How you want your letter signed:  From Austin

Birdwing Caterpillar

Dear Austin,
This stunning caterpillar is a Birdwing Caterpillar, but we cannot say for certain if it is a Cape York Birdwing, our first choice that is pictured on Butterfly House, or if it is the caterpillar of a Cairn’s Birdwing, also pictured on Butterfly House.

Subject:  Perhaps Black Swallowtail Butterflies?
Geographic location of the bug:  Coryell County, TX
Date: 03/22/2018
Time: 03:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello again!
Just wanted to share these beautiful butterflies visiting the phlox yesterday; warm weather here. I think these are Black Swallowtails. You have kindly identified them for me before. Two flew off together, dancing around each other in the air.
Thank you and very best wishes!
How you want your letter signed:  Ellen

Female Black Swallowtail

Hi Ellen,
You are correct that these are Black Swallowtails.  Both individuals are female Black Swallowtails which have a generous dusting of blue scales on the hind wings while male Black Swallowtails have more yellow spots.  Has your Whitelined Sphinx returned???

Female Black Swallowtails

Good morning, and thank you! Yes, the White-lined Sphinx has returned, with another individual,  and actual hummingbirds also, Black-chinned and Ruby-throated. The Sphinx are beautiful moths, and I had never noticed them in our yard before this year, although my neighbor has had them visit for several years. One has been visiting the always-popular Salvia greggii.
I hope you’ll both have a wonderful day.

Female Black Swallowtails