<< Previous Next >>

Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtail
Photo Information
Copyright: Bob Williams (bikefifty) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 24 W: 0 N: 158] (596)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-14
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon Rebel XTi, Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 II
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Photos on TrekNature [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-02-10 4:36
Viewed: 3333
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This Tiger Swallowtail is sitting on a thistle flower. They are one of the larger butterflies in our area and very active in the summer. In this shot I was trying to get a picture with the sun shining through the delicate wings. I hope you enjoy the photograph.

From Wikipedia:

Eastern tiger swallowtail

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae
Genus: Papilio
Species: P. glaucus
Binomial name
Papilio glaucus
Linnaeus, 1758

The Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus, is a large (12 cm wingspan) swallowtail butterfly. It is found in the Eastern United States, as far north as southern Vermont, and as far West as extreme Eastern Colorado. It flies from spring through fall, and most of the year in the southern portions of its range, where it may produce two or three broods a year.

Adult males are yellow, with four black "tiger stripes" on each fore wing. The trailing edges of the fore and hind wings are black which is broken with yellow spots. On the medial margin of the hind wing next to the abdomen there are small red and blue spots.

There are two morphs of adult females, a yellow and a dark one. The yellow morph is similar to the male, except that the hind wings have an area of blue between the black margin and the main yellow area. In the dark morph, most of the yellow areas are replaced with a dark gray to a black. A shadow of the "tiger stripes" can still be seen on the dark females. The dark form is more common in the Southern portions of the range.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails often rest with their wings fully spread, particularly if the sun is out.

Female lays spherical green eggs on the top of leaves of host plants. After hatching, the caterpillars often eat the shell of their egg. The first instars are dark and mimic bird droppings. The second and third instars use mimicry camouflage to the extreme. Lying quietly on a branch or leaf the caterpillar appears to be a piece of bird excrement but if disturbed rears its head and acts like an aggressive snake similar to the Hognose Snake. If disturbed enough, it will extend two red horns known as osmeterium from its underside that look like a snake's tongue. This fearsome visual disguise is often enough to frighten or fool a curious bird or predator. The larvae eat the leaves of a wide variety of trees and shrubs, including cottonwood, tulip tree, sweet bay, Lemon and cherry. Adults are strictly diurnal; they start to fly towards noon and by and by return to rest throughout the afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by - Bob

Argus, pekkavalo1 has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

hi bob,
this is nice ! the color contrast are wonderful =)
thanks for sharing

hello Bob
super macro
great colours good sharpness
good composition on the flower
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-02-10 12:19]

Hello Bob,
Superb use of the light in this capture of the Tiger Swallowtail by using it both to give a fine luminous transparency of the wings, as well as to be able to see the colours and markings with fine sharpness.

Even though this is a worn and torn individual this well composed shot is still a fine portrait of the species and I thank you for delighting us with it.

Hi Bob,
Must be one of the most beautiful butterflies you have captured so nicely; POV and composition are great, details pin sharp, colours very beautiful natural.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-02-10 17:49]

Great macro Bob,
Love the back lighting and rich colors. Very good detail with just the right exposure. I can hardly wait for the warm days of summer to get here so I can try and capture images such as this beauty! Very informative notes!!

Calibration Check