Probably a Black Swallowtail Butterfly

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  If you want the full experience, keep reading.

While we get many hummingbirds in the back yard, we don’t get many butterflies. Almost none, actually.

This is why, when I see the flutter of big wings, I jump into action, the camera on hand. Such was the case some days ago, especially because the butterfly was unusual. I mean, I’ve already said any butterfly would be unusual here, but this one had black wings. A Black Swallowtail<<link, no less.

Now, this first photo isn’t all that great, but I kept it because of the photo-bombing bee . . . 

As usual, click on the photo to open a larger version in a new tab or window.

Actually, most of the shots were frustrating to get because the fluttering beast was obstinately uncooperative. It seldom gave me a full open-wings shot and robbed me of a decent profile shot. 

Here it is again, the bee safely to the side.

As usual, the photos in the SmugMug gallery will show better than these. There is also a gallery at the bottom of the post with more shots than what I’ll share with the narrative.

The thing is, the coloring of this butterfly’s wings was off.

There should be more marking going up the bottom edge of the wings. You can almost see faint traces of where they should have been, and perhaps once were.

Here’s another shot with the bee.

It also looks like its right hind-wing was damaged, which lead me to wonder if it had been captured and had its wings stripped of some of the scale/pigments it would normally sport.

This next shot is the first I got of the butterfly with its wings open.

So, not just the coloring gone, but also good chunks of a wing. But, here you can see a little better where the markings should have been.

You can almost imagine you see the pattern . . . but maybe it’s your eyes playing tricks on you and giving you what you expect to see.

But no . . . in these next two shots, with the wing lit up by the sun and me having processed the photos to make them brighter, you can definitively see where the markings should have been (and perhaps once were).

The body was also missing the usual bright side markings, and all of it went a long way toward me wondering what this was . . . but, no. There is nothing else close to this shape and coloring, so a Black Swallowtail it is. Maybe it’s old, and no longer cares about attracting potential mates.

As luck would have it, a few days later I encountered numerous Black Swallowtails that look much healthier and recognizable as such. But, them photos are for another post.

Of course, they are not the same as the photos of royalty that visited . . .

But, that’s also a series for another post.

Here is the gallery of all sixteen photos I processed (and, of course, they’re also in the SmugMug gallery linked at the beginning of the post) plus one . . .

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Animals, Insects, No Category, Photography Stuff, Photos and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Probably a Black Swallowtail Butterfly

  1. AnnMarie says:

    Poor thing, it looks like it went through hell . . . or a version of it, anyway. A shadow of its former colorful self. But, these negatives aside, still wonderful to see it as it is, and wishing it a good remainder of its life.


    • disperser says:

      It didn’t seem to be traumatized in any way, behaving as butterfly do. I see many insects with various amounts of damage to their wings and — short of it being missing — it doesn’t seem to affect them all that much.

      I suspect there is a lot of redundancy built into the system, much like the human body can adapt and overcome significant damage.

      I think, it sometimes affects the observer more than the subject.


    • AnnMarie says:

      Yes, my “knee-jerk reaction” was evident in my reply. Upon further thought, my response would have been more along your lines of reasoning.


  2. goofier says:

    This is a test


  3. sandra getgood says:

    What beautiful photographs….the colors may not match the pictures in encyclopedias, but what marvelous creatures, living their lives and doing it well. We could learn from wildlife, if we only paid attention. I’ve always loved your photographs of hummingbirds, buffalo, hawks and eagles and heaven only knows what else. Now butterflies. Always something new to learn….

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Thank you, Sandra.

      I think this particular specimen went through a carwash or something. I have upcoming photos of the same species with colors matching the “official” version.

      Nice to hear from you and hope all is well with you and yours.


  4. I’m glad the butterfly is still living and doing it’s thing.
    We can all get battered about by life and we must carry on.
    And even when outward beauty fades, the heart is still beautiful.
    Beautiful photos!
    HUGS!!! :-)


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