Aug 13 2011

Giant on Ironweed

Published by at 7:30 am under Plants

Here's a beautiful picture of an unusual butterfly from Marcy Cunkelman.

It's a giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), the largest butterfly in the U.S. and Canada with a wingspan of 3.9 to 6.3 inches.  Not only is it large but it's a fast flier with a hopping flight pattern.

In the photo you see its light-colored underside but it looks completely different from the top: dark brown with yellow stripes.

I've never seen a giant swallowtail and I'm sure I've overlooked its caterpillar because the larva looks like bird poop (click here to see).

Marcy was lucky.  She glanced out the window, saw the butterfly, and ran outdoors with her new camera.  The butterfly obliged by pausing on ironweed while she took its picture.


(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

One response so far

One Response to “Giant on Ironweed”

  1. Joshon 13 Aug 2011 at 11:20 am

    I have to admit, when I saw the picture I wondered why you were posting about Tiger Swallowtails, at least I know now. That is one really cool caterpillar, what an ingenious way to escape predators (and curious humans). What bird would go after something that looks like it’s own droppings? 😉

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