Spicebush swallowtail? Or wishful thinking?

efeuerAugust 10, 2014

Since I've never seen one before...

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Another shot.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 1:44PM
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I think that's what it is. You know, I am fortunate to have lots of these in my gardens but I've yet to see even one caterpillar.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 1:55PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

It's a somewhat faded, male spicebush swallowtail. Congratulations!


    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 4:11PM
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After I'd about decided the Spicebush b-flies weren't coming this year, then tiny cats finally showed up. Didn't even see the mother, but the cut, folded leaves told me all I needed to know, there's 16 itty bitty cats so far plus one egg I've noticed! So sweet!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 4:14PM
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I'm thrilled! Sherry, can you explain how you made the ID on these less than ideal pictures? (Other than seeing a zillion of these butterflies. :-)) I know one mark to look for is the black dot inside the red dot, but I can't see any dot at all. I also read that another mark is the blue "comet" on the underside of the wing, but of course I don't have an underwing shot either. What's suggested the possibility to me were the crescents on the trailing edge of the hind wing-they look like they might be powder blue. But I'm not even sure I remember that field marked correctly from one of your previous tutorials.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 6:24PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Having seen a zillion of them is what did it, Liz. They're a very common swallowtail around here (they're the state butterfly) and I've raised a lot of them all through the years, especially this year.

The greenish coloring that extends high up on the hindwing is indicative of a faded male - they start out sort of aqua blue or sometimes gray blue, then fade to dull green with age. The lunules on the edge of the wings are diagnostic, as are the 'V' markings on the hindwings just entering the top of the green area. Also, the way he's holding his wings, sort of curvy, is like spicebush swallowtails. Tigers look triangular, and most swallowtails have their own 'look'.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:21PM
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Thanks! I'll chalk this up as the first towards my zillion. :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:32PM
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