White Spotted Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Sipping Thistle Nectar

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly on a Thistle Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The privilege of standing there, and enjoying this is very satisfying. This Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly is fully engaged in sipping the rich nectar of this Thistle flowerhead. Some years ago, I asked a professor emeritus of the sugars that might be present in this nectar. I don’t recall that his answer included the names of those sugars. Sugars, proteins and the occasional tiny insect that are taken up with the nectar must provide a fine nutritional mix here, for this Spicebush Swallowtail is resplendent, with its jet black, handsome coral spots, blue blazes, white spots on head, thorax and abdomen and that very healthy looking right complex eye.

Raccoon Creek State Park’s Doak Meadow, southwestern Pennsylvania. Just an 8-hour drive from New York, New York.

Jeff

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