Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's Black And White And Red All Over?

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond."
~ Irish Blessing
This is the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly. We saw only a couple of these this summer as they paused to drink from the lantana and the butterfly bush. Flying horses... or zebra.. the black and white stripes are very distinctive even when they only land on a flower for mere seconds. I noticed that the hind wings were not as open and on display as those of their cousins, the black swallowtail or the eastern tiger swallowtail; this made them a bit triangular and by keeping the hind wings together, they reveal only a splash of red. Our area is prime for these, being near the Great Dismal Swamp and with woodlands. The caterpillars eat primarily leaves of the paw-paw and I haven't seen one around here... so, the paw-paw is on my list of plantings adjacent to the preserve. Hopefully, these will become more frequent visitors. By the way... the flowers in the first picture are Asclepias tuberosa, orange butterfly weed.

Sharp long tail... similar in appearance to the swallows. Hence the name, swallowtail. Posted by Picasa

Today is my mother's birthday! She is 82 years young and if the weather holds as nice as it is, I hope to take her to the botanical garden tomorrow morning. She has been watching our Monarchs emerge from their chrysalides for the last week... everyday asking.. "How many have you birthed today?" Watching the process is amazing for any age.

(end of post)
Ruby Tuesday


Stephanie V said...

What a beauty!  And how clever of it to visit the pretty red flowers.

Sandra said...

a wonderful way to spend the day with your mother for her birthday. i have learned so much about butterflies from your blog. I know the two of you will enjoy "the births"

Don said...

Happy Birthday to your MUM. XX I love the butterfly. Hope you have a good Day

Ginny Hartzler said...

Give your mom a big happy birthday for me!! She is very blessed to have you as her daughter. We don't have these zebras anywhere around here that I've seen! But I can see the splach of color on your first picture! Great shots!

kenju said...

That one is gorgeous!!

Abby said...

A very happy birthday to your Mom!
Gorgeous close ups -- always love to see your nature photograpy.

You must show us the lovely faces of your cats soon!
I miss all of them.

colleen said...

I don't think I've ever seen one! I'ms till waiting to see a Monarch this year.  http://looseleafnotes.com

Col said...

Happy Birthday to you Mom.  :)   
Your butterfly photos are quite amazing.   I dont believe that I have seen any <span>Zebra Swallowtail butterflys up here.

sandra said...

In our 25 years of marriage we have had 4 dogs, all of them rescued from desparate situations. the big dog laying with Jake by the pool was Cooper, he was at a shelter and was 7 when we got him. Max was first, had him 15 years, baby girl was badly abused and was in terrible shape when we got her. we both share a love for all dogs and all animals, but especailly ones that are in great need of rescue. thanks for dropping by

Michelle-Rambling Woods said...

Beautiful...I've only see the tiger swallowtail here in NY...