Female Tiger Swallowtail: Dark Form

Posted (09/01/2007) Female Tiger Swallowtail?
Hi again!
Am I correct in believing that this is a "camouflaged" female Tiger Swallowtail mimicking the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail? These pic was taken today and the butterfly is on a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia Rotundifolia ). She was such a good subject, I could have taken pics of her all day long. I did find several pics of morphed female Tigers on your website but none of them had their wings open. How do you tell the difference between a morphed female Tiger Swallowtail and a Spicebrush Swallowtail? Is it that the Spicebrush has more blue "trailing" the orange spots on the inner row of orange spots on the underside of the lower wing? The butterflies are quite similar with their wings up. Thank You!!
Middle Georgia
P.S. I used to think it was SpiceBUSH Swallowtail, not SpiceBRUSH — LOL!! I guess I was crossing my bushes and my butterflies.

Hi Jacqui,
We were deleting some old emails and came across your great questions and wonderful photos that somehow slipped through the cracks when it was first sent. It was a busy time and the last full day of mom’s yearly visit. According to BugGuide, the: “dark phase occurs in females through much of range, especially 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. ” The stripes are more visible on the underwings as your photos illustrate. Also, we have seen both Spicebush and Spicebrush used, but Spicebush is more commonly accepted since it is the food plant of the caterpillar.

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