One of the reasons I enjoy gardening so much is the ability to experience nature. Today I was treated to a butterfly I've never noticed before. What caught my attention was the blue coloration on its wings but otherwise it looked very similar to a tiger swallowtail. It also had red markings on the underside of the wings and on the lower wings of the topside that I noticed as I was attempt to get a good photo. It was floating around the butterfly bush and rarely rested for more than a few seconds. I took several pictures hoping that one of them would turn out nicely but unfortunately I didn't have my higher distance lens handy and couldn't get a clear close-up. Tonight I think I positively identified it as a Zebra swallowtail butterfly (Eurytides marcellus). Someone with more expertise on the butterfly subject than I, like Randy, could probably nail down a positive ID.
I found a little information on the Zebra swallowtail butterfly at Connecting With Nature. Apparently the host plant for this swallowtail is the pawpaw tree! I don't have one but surely there must be a few nearby.
I also sighted my first monarch butterfly of the season on a Monarda (Bee Balm). Unfortunately he didn't pose well for the photo and he looks like a small sliver of color with his wings folded. I was more concerned with capturing pictures of the bluish colored swallowtail to identify it than I was with photographing the monarch.
Labels: Insects and spiders