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Rare visitor in the Garden today!

Posted by terrene 5b MA (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 31, 12 at 21:26

I've lurked on threads about butterflies like Gulf frits and Giant Swallowtails and always thought "I will never see that butterfly in my garden". So when I looked out in the back garden this morning, and saw a large yellow butterfly from a distance, I automatically assumed it was the common Eastern tiger swallowtail.

Then I went out to the garden, with the camera, and realized quickly "that's no ETS" - it was a DIFFERENT large yellow butterfly. Could it be a Giant Swallowtail??? Went inside and googled and quickly confirmed that it was Papilio cresphontes (I love saying that)! Apparently this is a very rare butterfly in Massachusetts.

Here's a couple pics - they're not easy to photograph because they wiggle a lot. It was really loving the Monarda 'Claire Grace' and the Verbena bonariensis. Does any one know if this is a male or female? I have lots of Ruta graveolens!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rare visitor in the Garden today!

That's a Giant, alright! What a beauty!

RE: Rare visitor in the Garden today!

Yay, congratulations on getting a Giant Swallowtail in your garden! That one is a female. Someone explained once before on here that the females have a black spot in the third yellow spot. Also, males have a broader yellow band across the top than females do. I hope that your GST lays some eggs on your rue. I absolutely love raising that kind of butterfly, more than any other with the exception of the Pipevine Swallowtail.

RE: Rare visitor in the Garden today!

Congratulations! I was so surprised when I saw one on vacation in upstate NY last summer. I assume there must have been Prickly Ash nearby!

RE: Rare visitor in the Garden today!

Oh gosh, I am SO excited about this butterfly! It's a female!! Cathy, I'm not sure exactly where the "black spot in the third yellow spot" is?

I didn't actually observe her laying any eggs, but that doesn't mean she didn't. Ugh, I should really check the rue carefully (seeds came from you Cathy) but they are really bushy little plants, not easy to see eggs! Very tedious egg-hunting, I have tried to find BST eggs and cats and the only time I have found them is when I observed exactly where the female oviposited. Also found 2 5th instar cats this year on the rue.

Monarch eggs are so much easier to find.

Course the Rue is growing for the Black Swallowtails, NEVER thought I'd see a Giant. Such an exciting butterfly day! 3 Monarchs eclosed and I saw 2 wild ones in the garden too.

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