“Zebra Swallowtail!”

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

You’re out seeking butterflies, and one of you shouts, “Zebra Swallowtail!” All stop what they were doing and respond, “Where?” Comes the question, Why? Why do seasoned butterfly seekers and those new to the search, become so excited when a Zebra is spotted?

They are scarce, rarely seen butterflies. They fly in with grace and beauty and they are surely coming to flowers that are pumping nectar. During this 2019 a typical day might score 2 Monarchs, 3 Pearl Crescents, 1 Pipevine Swallowtail, several Duskywings, an Eastern Comma, 4 Tiger Swallowtails and 1 Red-Spotted Purple. Zebra Swallowtail on that ‘typical day?’ No, not a one.

Rewarded with a look at such a beaut as this one, resplendent in its whites, black, red and blue, you feel special, fortunate to see what few see, a magnificent American butterfly, one of our most eye-pleasing.

This one was shot in Lynx Prairie Reserve, Adams County, Ohio. It’s on Butterflyweed, a milkweed, native to the USA. Also enjoying the milkweed nectar there is an Edwards Hairstreak butterfly, it too is a reason to feel good. Seeing both of these uncommon butterflies, reason enough to travel to Lynx Prairie in late June.


Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly Exudes Elegance while Sipping Milkweed Nectar

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly at Mason Neck State Park, VA

Mason Neck State Park in Virginia and our Zebra swallowtail is contentedly nectaring on Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).

A butterfly that exudes elegance. Elegance of form: It’s very easy on the eyes. Elegance of flight: It’s flight is direct and lofty, remaining well above the ground. Elegance of diet: Seen here taking milkweed nectar. Their preferred diet, Paw paw, is just 12 feet away.

Eurytides marcellus prefer habitat close to bodies of water, and our subject here is within sight of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Bald eagles were diving for fish nearby. What a beautiful sight that is. Picture it, baby blue sky, wildflower in full regalia, no wind, butterflies alight and Haliaeetus leucocephalus circling and diving for fish. Ummmm!

Just 1 hour from Washington, DC, much closer than that to the National Museum of the Marine Corps and reached by a road that is lined with gracious Virginia mansions, our Zebra swallowtail is in the right place at the right time.

Our other post of Zebras was also captured at Mason Neck. That post was serendipitous.