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Black Swallowtail

June 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Laura and I were enjoying our picnic lunch behind the Greenwings Legacy Interpretative Centre last Sunday when a butterfly appeared on the grass in front of us. I was not equipped for butterfly photography since we were interested in birds and flowers that day. Nevertheless I snapped a couple of quick photos. At first glance it appeared to be one of the black swallowtails. Yesterday evening I decided to put a label on this butterfly and by referring to Plate 5, Peterson Field Guides, Eastern Butterflies, I could find only one partial match. Only one of the black swallowtails has double orange/red banding on the hind wing, the Spicebush Swallowtail. The Spicebush Butterfly is a rare butterfly perhaps not even reported yet in Nova Scotia, so it is probably an unusually bright Black Swallowtail. I note also that the swallow's tail, the pointy part, on my example is not bulbous, that is rounded on the end. The upper wing spotting is more typical of the BIack Swallowtail, with the equal sized spotting marching up the upper wing and making a dog leg at the end whereas the upper wing spotting on the Spicebush Swallowtail has reducing spot sizes as they move up the wind and no dog leg turn at the end. I have one other photo but it doesn't help.

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