Wednesday, September 3

Garden Pic Wednesday: Giant Swallowtail

Here in north Florida, this is major butterfly time. My Zinnias have constant visitors.
Today I caught some picks of a Giant Swallowtail--which is difficult since they flutter constantly, so I get a tad of blur.

Giant Swallowtail:

These Swallowtails are a dark color with strong yellow spotting and are extremely showy, not to mention large. The dots are larger then those on a Black Swallowtail and more organized, being in a neat  line along the outer edges of the wings and in a band across the their shoulders. It's these two rows of bright spotting that give them their distinctive look.

Giant Swallow Tail In Profile:

In profile, the Giant's wings are mostly light yellow with only a thin decoration of dark lines. Their body is a plain yellow. No striping.

As opposed to a Tiger Swallowtail, below:

... which has a yellow body with black stripes and thicker bands of dark color trimming the wing edges.
 (They get the name "tiger" from the black striping on their bodies.)

Trivia: Tiger Swallowtail Females can take a "dark form" and look very much like a female Black Swallowtail with dark wings--but the identifying distinction is their bodies are still yellow with black stripes!
I'd love to raise some Giants--then I could get a really good shot! Their caterpillars go mostly for certain trees, such as Prickly Ash or Citrus Trees, but there is an smaller herb shrub called "Rue" that they like, which is of suitable size for a yard or garden.
I have in mind to get a Rue. The caterpillars are known as "brown dogs" because they have a poop-like look to camouflage them from birds.
The only caution I'll make about Rue is I've read the leaves can cause mild skin irritation to some people. So, if you procure any, handle it with long sleeves and gloves and don't put it by sidewalks or paths where passersby might brush against it.
Rue is classed as a medicinal herb. You can Google it & read up on it if you're interested.
So what's the most unique butterfly you've seen in your garden?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment!