Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

The weather’s warmed up enough so we can take the occasional meal outside. Leaves have mostly come out now, and in the landscape trees have mass, instead of skeletal form. Lilacs are blooming next to the deck.

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Lilacs on the deck.

As we ate our lunch yesterday, a low-flying, large butterfly came around from the back yard and landed on the lilacs.

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The lunchtime visitor

 

The spicebush swallowtail, one of our most striking local butterflies. They favor sassafrass tree leaves to lay their eggs on. We have lots of sassafrass in the woods around us. So we often see these beautiful creatures.

 

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Sipping some lunch.

From a wikipedia article on this butterfly: “When female swallowtails decide which leaf to oviposit on, they frequently will drum their forelegs toward a leaf to identify it. Their forelegs have chemoreceptors located in the foretarsi that assess the chemical makeup of the leaf and use that information to decide if it is an acceptable spot.”

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papilio_troilus

Go here for some good photos of their nifty-looking caterpillars.

http://www.carolinanature.com/butterflies/spicebushswt.html

 

This individual looks new and perfect, it must have just recently emerged.

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It can be worth it to eat outside.

You never know what you’ll see.

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One response to “Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

  1. These were my favorite photographs of the day. It can be worth it to eat outside, and to read the blog.

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