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Posts Tagged ‘Zebra Swalowtail butterfly’

As I was exploring Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge yesterday afternoon, Zebra Swallowtail butterflies (Protographium marcellus) kept fluttering by me. Occasionally one would perch for a moment  within range and I was able to get a few shots.

I really love the coloration and the shape of this beautiful butterfly that I rarely see. Although this butterfly is often associated with pawpaw trees, the ones that I saw perched mostly on the ground and seem to be obtaining either water or minerals.

Zebra Swallowtail

Zebra Swallowtail

Zebra Swallowtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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As I was out searching for dragonflies in the heat of the midday sun, a butterfly came fluttering into view. I haven’t seen many large butterflies yet this spring, so I followed after it, trying to identify it. When the butterfly paused for a moment to feed on one plant, I scrambled to get a shot.

The light was harsh and coming from a bad direction, but my long telephoto showed me clearly that it was a swallowtail butterfly, but definitely not at all colored like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtails that I often see during the summer. The markings were distinctive enough that it was easy to determine later that it is a Zebra Swallowtail butterfly (Eurytides marcellus), a species that I had never before encountered.

Multiple sources indicate that the Zebra Swallowtail is closely associated with the pawpaw tree, though I don’t know enough about trees and blossoms to determine if that is the plant on which this butterfly was feeding.

As I was poking about on the internet, I also learned from ereferencedesk.com that in 1995 the Zebra Swallowtail was designated as the official state butterfly of Tennessee. I must confess that I didn’t know that states have official butterflies.

Zebra Swallowtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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