28 June 2009

Tiger swallowtail on Shiraz lily

After I returned from my hike this morning, I was standing in the front garden when a huge black swallowtail swooped down to nectar on one of our Shiraz lilies. I was only able to fire off one quick photo before he sailed away; it's a bit out of focus because a strong wind was whipping the tall lilies and the autofocus of the camera seemed to prefer the lily petals to the swallowtail wings.

Tigers tend to lay their eggs on treetops and other inaccessible places, so I've never been fortunate enough to find some eggs to raise.

(Technical note: The pale band at the trailing edge of the forewing is almost continuous. A continuous band is indicative of a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail; the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail has a band interrupted by black. We live on the margin where the territories of these two butterflies overlap, so I wonder if the one above could be a hybrid.)

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