Butterflies fly so expertly that I often can’t tell that they have severe wing damage until I look closely. That was certainly the case this past weekend when I was observing a dark swallowtail at Huntley Meadows Park.
I didn’t get an absolutely clear look at it, but I think it might be a Spice Bush Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio troilus), judging from its colors and patterns. In the first photo, you can see only minor damage, but when the butterfly changed position, the extent of the damage became much more apparent.
I consider flight to be somewhat of a mystery in any case, but it is even more of a mystery how a butterfly can fly so well when one of its wings is almost completely detached from its body,
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved