Flying Now

Papilio troilusSpicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) are out and about now, moving fast.

One of the large “dark swallowtails,” which I find impossible to identify in motion. That’s the point. Both the Spicebush and the Black Swallowtail (P. polyxenes) mimic the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), which evidently tastes disgusting after loading up on Pipevine toxins. Predators learn this and avoid them, and the range of other large dark swallowtails that are actually delicious (I mean, if you’re into this sort of thing). There’s also a dark intermediate female form of the giant Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (P. glaucus); the one quick field mark there is that her body is NOT white-spotted.

For the Spicebush, notice how the inner row of orange blobs on the underwing are interrupted by an arrow-like silvery blue green wedge.Papilio troilus

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