Thursday, August 14, 2014

Corralitas Drive: Butterfly Bonanza Continues, Giant Swallowtail Butterflies

Photo: Diane Edwardson, August 11, 2014.  A Giant Swallowtail (Papilio crestphontes) Butterfly finally cooperated & allowed me to get a few photos with my cell phone (thus the poor image quality).   (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Sunday & Monday, almost every time I stepped outside, I ran into another Giant Swallowtail.  I had never seen one in the neighborhood until this summer.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, August 11, 2014.  Not only are Giant Swallowtails larger than their cousins, Western Tiger, Pale & Anise Swallowtails, they are the largest butterfly in North America.  Their wings are black with yellow stripes on top, so they are unmistakable flying by. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, August 11, 2014.  The underside of their wings is mostly yellow.  (I could not get a clear shot with my phone.)  This one was sucking up minerals from the damp dirt in the yard.  

All of the Swallowtails appear to be coming from my neighbor's yard.  She noticed a big increase in their numbers this year too. Giant Swallowtails' preferred larval foodplants are various citrus trees.  According to What's That Bug?, their caterpillars look like bird droppings I think they look a bit more like snakes.