Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dark Swallowtail Butterflies

I have had a lot of butterflies in what I call my butterfly garden. It is actually a very small part of my flower beds. All zinnias. The butterflies love them. This year I didn't plant any zinnia seeds, but the seeds from last year have given me as many flowers as I have had in previous years. Last week I photographed butterflies on several different days. Notice the top photograph the dark swallowtail only has one row of orange spots. This tells me this is a dark Tiger Swallowtail. The Tiger can be up to 5 1/2 inches. These two photographs of the wings open are what really tells me it is a dark Tiger Swallowtail. Notice the blue highlights around the white dots, these are not present on the Spicebush Swallowtail.
Next we have a Spicebush Swallowtail, it has 2 rows of the orange spots.
The Spicebush is only up to 4 1/2 inches.

Notice the white dots on the upper wings, no second row of blue highlights.

The last photograph is a better photograph of the Spicebush.

Until I loaded the photos in the computer I did not even know I had two different types of swallowtails. The dark Tiger was photographed on 7/19. The Spicebush were photographed on 7/23 and 7/24. There were 2 Spicebush here at the same time.
Then there is the Pipevine Swallowtail, which only gets to 3 3/8 inches. When seen in the field it appears different right off, at least to me. I don't think I have ever seen a Pipevine in my own yard. The first time I photographed one was at Cataloochee Cove in the Smoky Mtns National Park. Still hope to see one this summer.
And I did see a Red Spotted Purple this summer at Rockwood, but could not get my camera quick enough for a photo. They are more rare in this area, and I have very few photographs of a Red Spotted Purple.
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Anonymous said...

Wonderful butterfly photos Leedra. It is so interesting about the different markings.

Hope you have a good day!

Dorothy said...

Loved this pretty and informative post! Seems like my mind just won't retain all those subtle differences. Thanks!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful pictures. These are butterflies I get to enjoy only through your eyes,so Thanks.

JKoenig said...

Your pictures are stunning. You have such a good eye! Loved them all.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great Butterfly photos, Leedra. Glad you know your Butterflies.. I do NOT at all--but they surely are gorgeous....

P.S. We have over 2 inches of rain last night. YEAH!!! We really needed it.

Dawn said...

Oh, such pretty pictures! And a delight to see so many flutterbyes!

Elaine said...

Beautiful photos! Interesting to see the differences between the two butterlies. Without seeing both to compare it would be really difficult to tell them apart.

tina said...

Hi Leedra, It's so good to hear from you. I hope you and your husband are doing great. It looks like the grandkids are growing by leaps and bounds!

I have spent some time studying the differences in these two butterflies hoping that I can start doing a better job of identifying the butterflies in my garden. I am awful with identifications but I think I can remember no two rows of blues on the spicebush. I can't wait to find one now!

George said...

Wonderful pictures, Leedra. Aren't you glad we live in the Volunteer State and all those zinnias 'volunteered' to pop up so the butterflies could enjoy them?

Rose said...

Leedra,these are gorgeous....specially that last shot.