24 May 2008

First black swallowtail of the year

This one eclosed late this afternoon; when I photographed him, he was still fanning his wings to dry and stiffen them. (Males are characterized by prominence of the yellow pattern on the forewing and subtlety of the blue spots on the hindwing above the eyespots).

This one is a little small in body size, as is typical for the late-season ones which overwinter here as a chrysalis (the caterpillars often don't get very fat in the fall before the cold weather forces them to pupate), but the outstanding beauty of the wings is wonderfully characteristic of the species - click to enlarge to bigger-than-screen size.

He will spend the night on our screen porch, then warm himself in the sunshine before heading out for whatever adventures await. Five more chrysalids from last autumn's batch are still waiting to hatch.

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