Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Giant Swallowtail in the Butterfly Weed


click to embiggen
Here's a new visitor to the garden, a Giant Swallowtail, looking a little tattered and far from home -- but still magnificent.

They are mostly a southern butterfly - it's the first time I've seen one here - maybe the first time I've seen one anywhere in the northeast, much less Rhode Island.

I wonder if climate change is pushing them northward.

My butterfly field guide lists the larval foodplants as citrus, torchwood and hoptree, but I wonder if she'll find some exotic northern leaf to lay her eggs upon.

The caterpillars are meant to look like bird droppings . . . 

Papilio cresphontes

I'll keep an eye on the rue, since apparently that will do for them as well.