Male Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly Enjoys an Enviable Habitat

Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Phipps Conservatory Outdoor Gardens, PA

Around 10 AM in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory in the center of Pittsburgh. The University of Pittsburgh a 3 minute walk straight ahead and Carnegie Mellon University a 2 minute walk to our right.

Our Papilio polyxenes is imbibing nectar at a furious pace. One of countless butterflies that fly into these expertly maintained flowerbeds from the equally verdant Schenley Park that surrounds the Phipps. So, a horticultural oasis surrounded by a very, very large Pittsburgh Park, in turn surrounded by beautiful universities and inviting neighborhoods. Our male here certainly enjoys an enviable habitat.

A widespread species, Black Swallowtail caterpillars feed upon members of the carrot and parsley family. Their success is aided by the abundance of Queen Anne’s Lace, Fennel, Parsley, Dill, Celery and Carrots found throughout Schenley Park and in Phipps’ Outdoor Gardens and the home gardens beyond.

Tough to photograph, not because they refuse your approach while nectaring, but rather because their rapid wing movement while feeding requires many, many exposures to hope to score a good image. We were please with this one, thank you.

As we’ve blogged so many times before, the appearance of such a handsome butterfly, usually unanticipated, is nirvana. And when they stop to nectar, and are serious about it- Well, that’s just sweet!


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