A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Swallowtail

I saw this beauty enjoying the Joe-Pye Weed over the weekend.

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According to Wikipedia, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

adult males are yellow, with four black “tiger stripes” on each fore wing. The trailing edges of the fore and hind wings are black which is broken with yellow spots. On the medial margin of the hind wing next to the abdomen there are small red and blue spots.

There are two morphs of adult females, a yellow and a dark one. The yellow morph is similar to the male, except that the hind wings have an area of blue between the black margin and the main yellow area. In the dark morph, most of the yellow areas are replaced with a dark gray to a black. A shadow of the “tiger stripes” can still be seen on the dark females. The dark form is more common in the Southern portions of the range.

As you can see in the next photo, the blue is present on the hind wings, so this is a female.

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There have been a number of Monarchs flying around as well and the chipmunk has started to hang around — word must be getting out that our yard is becoming a good wildlife hangout.

10 Comments

  1. Amalie on July 28, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I love those! Probably the only time a caterpillar actually hatched in the mason jar I stuck it in, it turned out to be an enormous blue swallowtail. It barely fit in the jar. The really cool thing was that its wings were still wet when we realized it had hatched, and so once it was out of the jar, we were able to take a ton of super close-up shots of it.

    So pretty.

  2. Josh on July 28, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Awesome butterfly pictures! It’s wonderful to have that kind of garden guest. My joe pye weed is a popular spot for butterflies, too, though mine hasn’t started blooming yet this season the way yours has.

  3. Mom on July 28, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Those pictures of her are beautiful! Nice photography.

  4. denise on July 29, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Amalie, cool story — I remember finding caterpillars (usually Monarch) all the time as a kid, but now I never seem to. Not as observant as I used to be perhaps?
    Josh — this Joe Pye Weed is going gangbusters, and we just planted it last fall as a transplant from a friend. I didn’t think it was going to make it at first; now I’m worried that it’s going to take over!

  5. southsideandy on July 30, 2008 at 12:05 am

    My butterfly bush (which is about 7-8 feet tall this year) is just starting to get a few tiny blooms, so I expect a full profusion soon and the resultant butterflies. We shall see! 🙂 I have a lot of bees right now flocking to my hyssop…but not butterflies yet.

  6. Steve Cadwell on July 30, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Great pics & info on the swallowtail. Do you get monarchs where you live?

  7. denise on July 30, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    southsideandy: wow! I didn’t think butterfly bushes grew so big! Our Joe-Pye Weed is about 7 feet tall–it’s huge! We’re getting lots of bees too.
    Steve: thanks! Yes, we do get Monarchs here. So far I’ve seen a couple and am hoping for more as the garden fills in! (p.s. I fixed your link on the first comment, so I didn’t post the second one) 🙂

  8. southsideandy on July 30, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Last year, it didn’t. It grew to about 5 feet tall, but it was a falling over mess that crowded out a ton of plants. This year, for the hell of it, I put a tomato cage around it and fed the branches up through the cage as it grew…it looks like a vertical bush now and has actually not attempted to grow outward. It’s almost tree-like…and I love it that much more this way.

    I’ll try to take a picture and show you how it looks…

  9. Amalie on August 4, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Maybe I’m just more observant since reading this post, but I noticed a yellow swallowtail on our Canna lilies this weekend. The cats went nuts trying to get it through the window!

  10. denise on August 6, 2008 at 9:07 am

    southsideandy: sounds good. I will look for the pictures!
    Amalie: I don’t know who has more fun: the cats or the people who watch them go nuts — it’s hysterical to watch them chase things, isn’t it?

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