Sunday, August 14, 2011

Black Swallowtail Butterflies

It's been 10 days since the caterpillars formed their green or brown pupae and the first round have emerged on time as beautiful Eastern black swallowtail butterflies (Papilo polyxenes).  The butterflies are velvety black with blue and yellow spots above and orange spots under the wings.  Male butterflies, like the one below, have a more prominent band of yellow spots.

This is a female butterfly, showing more blue color banding. 

Eastern swallowtail butterflies mimic the colors of the poisonous Pipevine swallowtail to avoid being eaten.  All the butterflies will be released after they emerge during the next week or so.

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