Saturday, April 25, 2015

More Black Swallowtails

Released three more Black Swallowtails this week, two of which emerged as a pair. I may have been wrong on my earlier assessment of gender. The female (top) seems to barely have any yellow spots at all. The male (bottom) has the yellow spots but more strongly.

Here's the first one again, which I called a female but now I see the yellow spots are somewhat in between male and female, leaning towards male. It just goes to show these traits can vary among members within a species.

I seem to recall a one of my friends who raises a huge variety of silk moths that these wing colors and patterns aren't all entirely reliable. She occasionally hatches silk moths that have wing patterns belong to the other gender but she had said only happens rarely.

Also normally the females are larger than the males. Poor food quality in the autumn, an abundance of parasites, and long harsh winters seem to cause smaller or stunted generations.

The female fluttered off before I could do much with her. The male however I was able to place and pose about to get this wonderful shot on my eastern redbud. (I don't think this butterfly wants anything to do with this tree. I'm actually not sure what flowers they go to this early in the year. Phlox maybe?)


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