Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Dark Form)

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly ( Black Form) photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Eastern Neck National Wildlife refuge, MD

She is sipping nectar methodically in the morning sun at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Rock Hall, Maryland. August is a bountiful month for butterflies. Wildflowers have ended their effort to produce flowers, but that’s half the story. Other genera of wildflowers have taken over, producing rich loads of sugary/protein-rich mixtures. Papilio glaucus (Dark form) has chosen to fly in from the surrounding Refuge acreage to do her shopping, so to speak in Dave’s full perennial beds.

Those wings. Do they evoke a cape? The form of a Wright brothers early airborne prototype? Are they nearly outsized for her body? If they are outsized, how do they get this butterfly airborne? Have they in fact mimiced the coloration of the toxic-tasting wings of the Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor)? If they earn predator avoidance, how do/did those birds, reptiles and insects learn this behavior? Are there not dozens of bird species in this same Refuge that would enjoy eating this defenseless butterfly?

Winter here in the U.S. will end soon. Where are these butterflies at this time? Did you know the answer to this puzzler? They overwinter as pupae, hidden in tree hollows, wood piles, and perhaps between the timbers beneath your deck. Lucky you.

If by now you are thinking that wingedbeauty.com has posted another image of this butterfly recently, you’re correct. Just as a jewelry catalog presents different views of gems, we present different views of winged beauties.

Jeff

 

Wood Nymph Butterfly

Wood nymph butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Years have passed since I happened onto Wood Nymph butterflies with sky blue eyespots. Those were at Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania. They were speedsters and hid as soon as approached = no images!

I’ve sought images of Wood Nymph butterflies that are fresh and show sky-blue eyespots.

Not so easy to secure. They prefer trails at forest edges, especially with high grass fields adjacent. The fresh ones are gone in an instant, the worn ones, well they’re no longer striking brown, yellow yellow or baby-blue.

So here we have all of the above.

We haven’t posted an image of this butterfly with its wings fully opened because. they rarely bask in the morning sun and open their wings for nanoseconds at a time. I’ve been on the look-out for Wood Nymphs resting with wings open. Ten years later, I’m still looking.

Jeffrey