Monday, April 26, 2010

Two-tailed Swallowtail

I saw a beautiful swallowtail on our golden currant bush and couldn't resist snapping a few photos.

They came out well enough that I realized I would be able to identify the butterfly. A couple years ago I wanted to learn all the butterflies in the area, but once I learned there were more than a hundred species, I felt a bit overwhelmed and didn't learn much. Now I'm ready to try again.

When I came in the house, I went on the internet to my favorite butterflies website. One of the neatest things about the website is that it has a list of butterflies and moths by county, so that quickly narrows down what you see. I found that there were about six different swallowtails, and by checking out the photos, I learned that this one is a Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata). In the photo above you can clearly see the secondary protrusion on the tail, along with the pretty blue and orange coloring near the tail.

The two-tailed swallowtail uses nectar from a variety of plants and is fairly common in western North America. I really enjoyed watching it get that nectar--the butterfly balanced delicately as it sipped the nectar, then swooped to the next flower.

One down, quite a few more to go...

3 comments:

The Incredible Woody said...

Beautiful! Did I see Desert Boy's photo on the NPS website about the Jr Ranger program? If not, man that kid looks like his twin.

Desert Survivor said...

I wasn't aware of Desert Boy's photo being on the NPS website, but I guess it's possible. We are enjoying some good weather and being outside a lot.

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