Aug 13 2011
Here’s a beautiful picture of an unusual butterfly from Marcy Cunkelman.
It’s a giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), the largest butterfly in the U.S. and Canada with a wingspan of 3.9 to 6.3 inches. Not only is it large but it’s a fast flier with a hopping flight pattern.
In the photo you see its light-colored underside but it looks completely different from the top: dark brown with yellow stripes.
I’ve never seen a giant swallowtail and I’m sure I’ve overlooked its caterpillar because the larva looks like bird poop (click here to see).
Marcy was lucky. She glanced out the window, saw the butterfly, and ran outdoors with her new camera. The butterfly obliged by pausing on ironweed while she took its picture.
(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)