A Big Smile for a Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

Spicebush swallowtail butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

As I made my way along a trail at Raccoon Creek State Park on May 25th, my face lit up with a big smile! There was a very beautiful Spicebush swallowtail well positioned (for me) and intent on the scat that it had found.

Among the many species of swallowtail found in the park, Papilio troilus are most likely to have had their wings nipped by predators and their wings seem to show wear more quickly. Many believe that their resemblance to Pipevine Swallowtails earns them some protection, but I don’t see that helping much.

Here the black was a rich black,the splashes of blue were blue and the white spots were … white!

Best of all it remained motionless long enough for me to approach within 15″ and secure enough exposures to get this sweet image.

Why do you think it was so determined to remain on the scat?