Sunday, May 22, 2011

Swallowtail Suite


This winged beauty interrupted me as I labored in the garden earlier this week.  Such a perfect specimen of lepidopterahood demanded nothing less than my full attention so I took a break from my duties (and allowed the Head Gardener to do the same).   After snapping 2 or 3 shots with my iPhone, I took a chance that this Tiger Swallowtail would stick around and ran inside for my camera.  I came back out and spent several minutes following my visitor as she flitted from one cluster of Lantana blooms to another.  I used the zoom lens so I wouldn't get too close to the dining diva and scare her away.   33 shots later, I turned off the camera and spent a few more minutes just watching and marveling at her perfect beauty.  I'll spare y'all all 33 pictures and instead show you only 19.   The HG thinks that's still too many but, hey, she's not the one posting! If you make it through all 19 pictures, there's some information about this form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio (Pterourus) glaucus.

















According to authors John and Gloria Tveten in BUTTERFLIES OF HOUSTON AND SOUTHEAST TEXAS (1996, University of Texas Press), male Tiger Swallowtails are always yellow but females can be either yellow or black.   Male Tiger Swallowtails have very little blue on their dorsal hindwings, however, leading me to identify this one as a female.  A Duke University site confirms that identification.

20 comments:

Alison said...

Wow! She is just beautiful! She would have stopped me in my tracks too.

Gail said...

She's a beauty! When butterfly visit, I drop everything, grab the camera and tour the garden with them. gail

andrea said...

very cool, thanks for the male/female identifying tips!

Carol said...

She's very pretty and a great model!

HolleyGarden said...

What a gorgeous butterfly! Looks like she's really loving that lantana. 19 shots were not too many!

Ginny said...

I can't wait for my lantana to bloom so that the swallowtails will come calling! I could follow them around all day and I can relate to taking dozens of photos!

Leslie said...

You did a great job catching her beauty...I'm so glad she waited for you.

Donna Hoffman said...

Loved ALL 19 ~ Just purchased some butterfly weed for my garden, maybe I shall be so lucky! May I "steal" one of your shots for my profile pic? thanks for sharing with us!

LindaCTG said...

Great pictures, all 19 of them! I do hate it when I run for the camera and dining diva has left. The other day we had a giant swallowtail but she was too frisky for me to keep up with her. Maybe you'll be a "grandmother" soon too!

Jan said...

Nice shots, Cindy.

Stacey said...

You captured such beautiful pictures. How pretty!

sweetbay said...

Swallowtails are so beautiful and graceful aren't they? I didn't know that yellow females had more blue on their hindwings than males ~ good to know!

Stoblogger said...

I definitely need to plant some lantana in hopes of attracting those beauties.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Thanks, y'all!

Mac_fromAustralia said...

So gorgeous!

PJ @ Home Decor Accents | Outdoor Garden Decor said...

Wow, you got a great chance to take some really nice pictures of this Swallowtail. Just beautiful.
That's one of the moments that make the gardening even more enjoyable.
Paula Jo

Annie in Austin said...

A stationery butterfly is irresistible & you caught her very well, Cindy. Swallowtails are so graceful.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Gardening in Atascocita said...

Wow, gorgeous pictures!

Annette Ratliff said...

I spotted a tiger swallowtail on my esperanza today. Really beautiful. Thank goodness for my iphone in my pocket!

Annette Ratliff said...

I spotted a tiger swallowtail on my esperanza today. Really beautiful. Thank goodness for my iphone in my pocket!