Help! Is this a pipevine swallowtail?

November 18, 2016

Is this a pipevine swallowtail?

Is this a pipevine swallowtail? This one is tapping the bat-faced cuphea; the pipevine under the holly is undisturbed.

A parade of butterflies this year! A lot of monarchs, in contrast to the past three years; we’ve had some Gulf fritillaries, and various sulfurs. The penta seems to be a major stopping point for hairstreaks and other small butterflies.

We’ve had a few tiger swallowtails.

And this one pictured above. it seems to have the spots of a pipevine swallowtail, but there are no swallowtails!

Did they wear off in migrating?

Are we misidentifying it?


Pipevine swallowtail (?) from the underside, still on the cuphea. Can we erase the question mark? Sunlight emphasizes the blue on the underwing. Photos copyright by Ed Darrell, Creative Commons. Please use, with attribution.


Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed

August 9, 2010

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed - photo by Ed Darrell - copy free with attribution IMGP4824

Gulf fritillary butterfly on blue porterweed, Dallas, Texas — photo by Ed Darrell — use free with attribution

A gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus, 1758)) on blue porterweed, Stachytarpheta urticifolia, also known as blue rats tail, or nettleleaf velvetberry.  Dallas, Texas, August 9, 2010.

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed - photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution IMGP4820

This fritillary hung around for a few minutes.

Kathryn plants butterfly-attracting plants — a concept that was new to me when she introduced it at our home in Cheverly, Maryland, with several plants that acted like butterfly magnets, to my astonished delight.  We first ran into the brilliant orange gulf fritillaries in 1988 or 1989 here in Dallas.  For the past few summers, fritillaries have not been frequent visitors in our yard.

Kathryn stepped up the butterfly plantings this spring, including passion vine (Passiflora incarnata).  The passion vine twines toward one of the bird feeders, but in the past week or so has been losing leaves — to caterpillars of the gulf fritillary, it turns out.  Blue porterweed attracts all sorts of butterflies, but the fritillaries have been rather common, no doubt hoping to give their progeny a little boost with the passion vine, their favored food.

Butterfly afficianadoes in Dallas are urged to plant milkweed and butterfly bush to help the monarchs, whose populations are stressed by the recent cold winter, dramatic reductions in habitat, and destruction of their sanctuary trees in Mexico where they migrate each winter.  But all butterflies could use some habitat help, I think.  The rewards are great.

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed - photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution - IMGP4822

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed, catching the morning sun

Gulf fritillary butterfly on blue porterweed - photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution - IMGP4823

Butterfly plantings will attract butterflies, guaranteed. Gulf fritillary enjoys some blue porterweed nectar.

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