Bountiful Butterflies

August 11, 2010

I love Joe Pye Weed. It’s got such lovely soft pink flowers. And although I like to look at them, what is REALLY great is those flowers are veritable butterfly magnets.

They are especially popular with the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.

yellow butterfly

Time for a sip of nectar!

I think it’s interesting that there are three color variants of the Easter Tiger Swallowtail.  The male is yellow, and he’s just a tiny bit less showy than the females, as he only has small red and blue spots on the inside of his hind wings, up next to the abdomen.

I think this is a male (I’m not an expert here!).

yellow butterflies

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) - Male?

The male comes in only the one color… yellow.

yellow butterfly

It's a boy!

The females can be yellow too, but have an area of blue between the black margin of the hind wing, and the yellow.

So I would say these are female swallowtails!

yellow butterflies

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) - females, yellow form

This one is definitely a female with those prominent blue spots!

yellow buttefly

It's a girl!

But here’s the thing… remember I said there are three color variants? Well, the female Eastern Swallowtail butterfly also has a black form.

black butterfly

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Joe Pye Weed

 So if it’s black, it’s female.  If it’s yellow, it could be male OR female.

black butterfly and yellow butterfly

Black or Yellow, take your pick!

Whether they’re black or yellow, male or female, they’re beautiful!

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