Happy Sunday! I think butterflies are fascinating! When a swallowtail butterfly landed on a cone flower in my garden it reminded me of a Bible verse. A cheerful Heart is good medicine from Proverbs 17:22
Facts about the Swallow-Tail Butterfly source
The swallowtail butterflies have returned this season and spend most of their time on the cone flowers and buddleia bush.
- The short ‘tails’ on the hind-wings is where this beautiful butterfly takes it’s name.
- Males and females often have completely different wing colors and patterns.
- There are over 500 species of Swallowtail butterfly worldwide.
- The caterpillar exudes unpleasant chemicals from a forked gland to protect itself.
- Wingspan: 4.4 – 20 cm; Caterpillar length: 6 – 7 cm
- Number of eggs: 100 – 200
- Caterpillar stage: Approx 30 days
- Lifespan: A few weeks as an adult
This Swallowtail feeds on the buddleia (also called a butterfly bush). I notice they are wary and flutter off when I get too close.
More about butterflies
Adult butterflies can feed on the sugary flower nectar which it sips by extending its long, curled tongue into flowers. Each of its eyes consists of hundreds of facets, each with a tiny lens. The compound eye cannot create a single, focused image, but it can detect movement from any angle.
The chrysalis is spun by the caterpillar itself before sealing itself inside. The chrysalis can sealed so much that it can even survive underwater.
When at rest, the butterfly holds its wings together. It opens them at brief intervals as to reveal a brightly colored spot on each hind-wing; these spots, to predators, look like the eyes of a much larger animal, hence protecting the butterfly.
Since the lifespan of the swallowtail butterfly is fairly short, the adult male tries to find a mate a quickly as possible. When he succeeds, the pair begin to court briefly, fluttering around each other, before mating. Mating can take up to 45 minutes while the male fertilizes the eggs of the female.
Not much sooner after, the female lays her eggs. 10 days later, the eggs hatch into caterpillars, which feed rapidly. Baby caterpillars molt their skins five times before reaching full size which takes about a month.
The caterpillars usually eat their empty egg-shell, then they devour the leaves of fennel or milk parsley for several weeks before changing into a pupa.
Swallowtail butterflies continue to flutter their wings even after landing on a stem to feed. This hovering helps to support its weight on fragile, delicate flowers.
Because of their large wingspan, the swallowtail butterfly can fly very fast. Even so, compared to other butterflies, they flap their wings very slowly.
The swallowtail’s sense of taste is located at the ends of its legs, where tiny organs recognize sweet substances.
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My Recent Favorite Books says
I love Butterflies!
Have a wonderful day! =)
handmade by amalia says
If a butterfly cannot cheer you up, nothing will. Gorgeous post.
We have five Black Swallowtail caterpillars in various instar stages on the Rue (I'm SO excited :o) Thank you for this timely – and informative – post. Lovely photos and I'm pretty sure I just "liked" that lovely watercolor with scripture on Instagram (didn't I?)
Beautiful!! When I read the details I think of the wonder of creation!
Lovely pictures! At The Farmhouse, we had oodles of spicebush swallowtails every year. The caterpillars fed on the parsley and rue in our herb garden. I haven't seen many butterflies here at our new house, but perhaps they'll come as we plant new things for them to eat. They are a delight to watch!
Debbie Huffaker says
Beautiful picture and scripture. HOPE you have a blessed week.
Debby Ray says
What majestic creatures…glorious photos and love that Waterlogue rendition. Thanks for all of the interesting facts and great info on these beauties. Our population of butterflies seems to be a bit puny this summer 🙁
How pretty. I especially like the first picture. Interesting facts about the swallowtails