Monday, October 23, 2006

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly photos

Here are a couple of photos I took of Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) butterflies at last year's Butterfly Magic exhibit at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. I love the striking difference between the dorsal and ventral colouring. I had no idea when I first processed these photos that it was the same butterfly.The Giant Swallowtail is the largest butterfly occurring in the United States. "The adult butterfly is quite large, with a wingspan of up to 7.4 cm for females. The wings have a striking and easily recognizeable black and yellow pattern." Its diet includes milkweed, goldenrod, Japanese honeysuckle, Lantana and morning glory. "... The caterpillar is known as the Orange Dog because it is a common pest for citrus farmers. The caterpillar has two effective adaptations for defense against birds. The first is a reddish osmeterium that is extended when the insect is bothered. The pheromones are foul-smelling and are thought to deter birds. Secondly, the coloration of the larva makes it appear to be an inconspicuous bird dropping." Wikipedia


Endment said...

Sigh - Wonderful photos and the information you package with them nearly makes me want to go to school :)
Love your helpful information!!!

LauraHinNJ said...

The underside reminds me of the eastern swallowtail - love that view of its face!

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Gorgeous. Cyn

Pam in Tucson said...

endment - Thanks. I'm glad you enjoy the info. If it weren't for Google, I'd be a complete ignoramous. I'm glad you said "nearly" ;)

laura - I looked up the eastern swallowtail to see the resemblance. This butterfly caught me by surprise as it came over the horizon of the blossom.

Thanks, Cyn. Glad you came by.