Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly – (Papilio glaucus)
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly is one of the most common butterflies to be seen in North America and it is also one of the first to be documented and drawn by an artist by America’s early settlers. John White who was part of Sir Walter Raleigh’s third expedition to Virginia made a drawing of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in 1587 and named it “Mamankanois” which is believed to be a native American word for butterfly. It is the state butterfly for several states but not for Florida whose state butterfly is the Zebra Long Wing. The female Eastern Tiger has some self protection traits such as mimicking the appearance of the Pipe Vine Swallowtail butterfly which has black wings and some blue edges on its wings and is poisonous to its predators. The Eastern Tiger feeds on the nectar of several flowering plants and this one was feeding on a buttonbush plant which is common in Pine Flatwoods and wetlands. The male butterfly is yellow with black looking tiger stripes with its distinctive tail. . The female is dimorphic which means it can look like the male butterfly or appear with different colors such as the Pipe Vine butterfly. I photographed this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail while I was on a hike on the boardwalk of the Bird Rookery Swamp Trail in Naples. There are guided hikes through this preserve and I recommend the guided tour since there are some alligators and snakes on or near the trail. The preserve It is part of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) a 60,000 acre watershed that is jointly owned and operated by several public and non—profit conservation groups.
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