Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Black Swallowtail

A few days ago I noticed a male Black Swallowtail fluttering around my yard. The species name is Papilio polyxenes, as Black Swallowtail hardly describes anything in that swallowtail family accurately. 90% of them are black swallowtails, because they all happen to be mimicking the Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor which is poisonous. Anything that causes a mother bird to regurgitate all the food for her babies prematurely is not something any mother bird would dare eat again.

Males of this species have the long line of yellow dots all along the wing. Females have these dots less pronounced, and with more blue along the rear of the wings.

For whatever reason this male was unusually cooperative for me taking photos.

Knowing the species was hanging about the yard I knew to check various host plants for eggs. Sure enough it seems our parsley was dotted by a female. I'll keep checking on these little eggs as they develop.