Sunday, August 9, 2009

9 Ways of Looking at a Tiger Swallowtail

Images of a female tiger swallowtail, and assorted caterpillars eating skin. I see something different in each, so if you want, expand each image and see what you see (or don't--go eat a donut, it's just as good if not better).

Today's swallowtail preferred hanging upside down, so pictures were harder to take--but in this one you get a good feel for the racing-stripe body.

Here is the full coloration and a cool strip of darker yellow on the right wing that looks as if someone put scotch tape on it.

I don't know what is on the proboscis, but I'm assuming pollen or nectar.

The irridescence of blue on the wing seems echoed in the one visible eye. I like this subtle framing of color.

I enjoy this one because of the nearby green fly perfectly squeezed into a butterfly bush bloom.

The backlit yellow wing--stunning, like a cathedral. And surely there is more sense of divine communion in this one organic life than all the immitative houses of worship put together.


This guy just molted and is hungry. Waste not want not. Maybe I'm jealous.

Did you ever have a glow worm doll as a child, that if squeezed, lit up? Please, don't squeeze my caterpillar (that is not a euphamism).


Autumn Belle said...

That's a pretty caterpillar. Does it really glow? The insect that it is eating is almost 1/3 of its size.

Benjamin Vogt said...

AB--Actually, that is a swallowtail caterpillar, likely a black swallowtail since I've seen, and raised those only so far in my garden. This caterpillar has just shed its skin, which they do several times--they always eat their skin afterward. I imagine in about 2 weeks it will be a butterfly.

Victoria Summerley said...

I love donuts but I'd much rather look at your swallowtail pictures.

our friend Ben said...

Gorgeous photos, Benjamin! Too bad I don't have a doughnut (cinnamon-coated, preferably) to eat while I'm looking at them!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

I love two last pictures the most. Reminded me of the snow, not that I miss it...

Benjamin Vogt said...

Victoria--For shame! I'd love a chocolate long john right now!
OFB--I think I'll go see if any donut plants are on sale at the nursery this morning.
Tatyana--Well, maybe just a little snow while one is out planting in the August heat. 3 months to snow!

CommonWeeder said...

Fabulous pix! I can get close to a caterpillar for a series, but nevr the butterflies.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Good stuff

Do you ever refer to the swallowtail as the 'sail' butterfly?

Benjamin Vogt said...

CW--Well, yer seeing the best pics of dozens and dozens, very hard to get the butterflies to hold still at the right angle!
Rob--Huh, never heard that term for swallowtails, but maybe it's just me?