Butterflies were really active this past Monday at Huntley Meadows Park, especially around the buttonbushes (Cephalanthus occidentalis). A dark swallowtail butterfly caught my eye and my mind raced to remember how to distinguish among the various dark swallowtails. Fortunately I had enough presence of mind to capture some images, knowing I could search different resources when I got home.
I’m pretty confident that the butterfly in question is a Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor). One of its distinguishing characteristics is a single row of orange spots in the shape of a C. As I was searching the internet, I came across a wonderful posting by Louisana Naturalist that has side-by-side photos of four different dark swallowtails —the Black Swallowtail, the dark morph of the female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, the Spicebush Swallowtail, and the Pipevine Swallowtail.
As I was trying to get a shot of this butterfly, which was in constant motion, another insect decided to photobomb us. I think it is a bee and I am including a photo of the photobombing insect just for fun.
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.