Currently viewing the category: "swallowtails"

Inchworm/Oak Besma? Butterfly?
Hello again What’s That Bug.
I noticed on the Caterpiller page you have the Inchworm/Oak Besma identification, but the picture is hard to see. I’d like to contribute my own. Again, these are found in my backyard in central Indiana. I have also included a picture of a butterfly I found at the Gatlinburg Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Aquarium in Tennessee. I searched the site, but I’m unsure as the type of butterfly it is. Can you help?
Heather Burdette

Hi Heather,
Your unidentified butterfly is a Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus, but a black morph. According to BugGuide: “A dark phase occurs in females through much of range, esepcially in southern states. The stripes are still faintly visible from some angles. The black females may be distinguished from other swallowtails from below, by the absence of the band of orange spots on the hind wing seen on Black and Spicebush Swallowtails, and lack of iridescent blue of Pipevine Swallowtails. ” We are not entirely sure your Inchworm is an Oak Besma. It appears to be feeding on a maple leaf and there are other Geometrid Caterpillars that look very similar. Bugguide lists the food plants as: “Oak, elm, poplar, willows, and white spruce.” So our verdict is maybe yes and maybe no.

Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail
I really enjoyed looking at your site. I have these photos I thought you might like to see of the Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail. I think it’s just so awesome! The first photo is one I raised that eclosed out of season (due to warm winter weather). The second is the final stage of the caterpillar. In Texas they really like to use the Hop Tree as a larval host plant.

Hi Linda,
Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos with our readers.

western tiger swallowtail
Dear bugman,
Thanks for identifying my cricket hunter. I’m pretty sure this is a western tiger swallowtail, and I noticed you didn’t have a picture of one with its wings spread out – it’s so pretty! Thanks for your website!

Hi Erika,
What a lovely addition to our site.

Photos for your site
I have some photos of butterflies for your website. I see you don’t have these species.

Polydamus Swallowtail Longtailed Skipper

Thank you so much. The image you have labeled Spicebush Swallowtail is actually a Polydamus Swallowtail, Battus polydamas. The Longtailed Skipper is Urbanus proteus.

Hi Daniel and Lisa Anne!
I just had to write you two, your site is the best bug site I have ever seen! Your main page helped me identify a bug that was posted at our forum, and I must admit that some of the pictures submitted to your site are so absolutely beautiful that I had to capture them for my screen saver! In exchange I wish to offer some photos of my own, taken in my yard in Santa Ana California. I have included 10 photos that I took with my digital camera, you may use them as you see fit I would also like to reply to Rebecca from Southern California who wishes to know how to get rid of all of her bugs, if a reply is allowed.
Hi Rebecca!
I live in Southern California too, and I have all the things you described in my yard as well. If they are getting into your house, then you probably have openings around windows and doors that should be attended to. You do not want to kill the bugs in your yard, they provide very necessary functions to keep your yard healthy. Ants are your cleaning crew, they dispose of dead things. Earthworms are what make the earth that your garden grows in, and their castings contain an enzyme that repels white flies. Wasps are your predators, they eat the caterpillars that eat your plants. Caterpillars are your butterflies and moths, and they pollinate your flowers so they bloom again next year. Robber flies are your wasp controllers, they keep wasp populations down. Potato bugs, pill bugs, earwigs and click beetles are your compost engineers, they recycle leaf litter and break it down so the earthworms can turn it into healthy soil. Possums are your snail controllers. Garden snails are not native and have no other predator than possums here in California. Spiders are your general insect controllers, you should capture and take outside any that wander into your house. There are many other insects that you will find in your yard as well, but they are all pretty harmless and will avoid you if you just give them time to move out of your way. Your yard is its own ecosystem, with its own checks and balances. Learn to love your bugs, explore them, research them, discover the benefits they give to you and the beauty of your yard. If you get stung by a wasp or bee, or bitten by a mosquito, simply dissolve a real aspirin in your hand with a few drops of water and apply directly to the site, the pain and itch will be gone within a matter of seconds. If you want to help control your mosquitoes, simply place a container of water under a bush which is easily accessible to you and leave it there, check it every day, when you see the larvae swimming around just dump the entire container of water on the ground. The larvae will die. Refill the container. Insure that there is no other standing water on your property. Keep an eye out for Black Widows, they are the only bugs in your yard that can actually harm you. Hope this helps 🙂
Cathy 🙂
Thank you Daniel and Lisa, for such a wonderful site! I have it bookmarked and will be back here often!

Giant Swallowtail Tiger Swallowtail

Hi Cathy,
What a wonderful letter you have written. You have sent in so many images, we really cannot post them all, but we will take the opportunity to make one little identification for you.l You identified two butterflies as a Dark Barred Tiger Swallowtail and a Light Barred Tiger Swallowtail. Only the light one is a Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus. The other is a Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes. I would also like to comment on two of your comments to Rebecca. First, the ants that plague most Southern Californians are Argentine Ants, Iridomyrmex humilis, an introduced invasive species. They are undesireable aliens that tend to aphids, scales and other plant pests. They are invasive and competitive, and often exterminates native ants when it moves into a new territory. If I could, I would send them all back to Argentina where they must have a natural predator. Also, when you mention that snails have no natural predators in California, you have ingored a wonderful species of Rove Beetle introduced from Europe, the Devil’s Coach Horse. Thank you again for your awesome letter.
Lisa Anne and Daniel

I was looking for the identity of the Pearly Wood Nymph on your website after my brother in Michigan sent me a picture. I was so impressed with the information you’ve made available to folks like me. I saw that you have been unsuccessful in photographing the tiger swallowtail so I thought I’d share some that I’ve taken here in Indiana.
Kathy Roesener

Hi Kathy,
Thanks for the compliment as well as your beautiful photographs.