I Love Tea Cups

I Love Tea Cups

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Hello everyone, 
We're having a little rain here today. It's Saturday and the weather is just perfect for keeping all the roses and new plants moist. 
I have a native California Dutchman's Pipevine in my garden. The Dutchman's Pipevine is the host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar. The plant is so unique. It's a perennial and the blooms look like a Dutchman's pipe. 
The other day I was looking out the back screen door and saw a butterfly on the vine. I quickly ran for my camera with my telephoto lens. I was very quiet and took this photo of a female Swallowtail Butterfly.
After taking a closer look I saw the butterfly laying eggs. 
The female butterfly is laying the rust-colored eggs on the under side of a leaf. 
I found a couple of caterpillars eating the leaves. Once full-grown. these rather unattractive caterpillars move away from the host plant and form a cocoon, only to emerge again in a few weeks as a beautiful butterfly and start the cycle all over again by mating.
Some butterflies have evolved a survival strategy that enables their caterpillars to feed on a wide variety of plants, but others, like the Pipevine Swallowtail, have chosen to specialize on a small number of plants that give them a particular advantage.  To protect itself from being eaten, Dutchman’s Pipevine has evolved with chemicals that are at minimum distasteful to those who would eat it, and if a sufficient amount is ingested, they are toxic.  Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars are among the few creatures who are able to process these chemicals without harm to themselves, then store them in their bodies in such a way that they are toxic to their potential predators.  This chemical protection even survives metamorphosis and extends to the adult butterfly.  It is so effective that other butterflies mimic the appearance of the Pipevine Swallowtail, since this is often enough to warn off predators.
Wonderful things going on @ My Cozy Corner.
Thanks for visiting and thank you for your wonderful comments.
Linking to:
Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch  
Mosaic Monday at Little Red House  
Make It Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
Inspire Me at A Stroll Thru Life
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home
The Scoop at Cedar Hill Farmhouse 
Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Fishtail Cottage for Garden Party
 Katherines Corner for Favorite Things, 
The Vintage Farmhouse for Creative Things 
 A Delightsome Life for Home and Garden,
Love of Family & Home for Inspire Me Please  
  From My Front Porch To Yours for Treasure Hunt Thursday
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Be Inspired at Common Ground
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Show and Tell at  My Romantic Home
Have a great week!♥


  1. Thanks so much for this interesting information. I love butterfly's - they are beautiful.
    Have a great week.

  2. What beautiful close ups of the butterfly. It's so hard to get sharp pics of them. Enjoy your afternoon! Hugs, Diane

  3. Oh wow, these are awesome photos and a great sequence.. I love the cool looking plant and flower.. The butterfly is gorgeous.. Awesome capture of the butterfly laying the eggs, a cool sight to see. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

  4. I'm so glad your good camera was nearby Betty - these photos are wonderful to see!
    Very interesting information on Dutchman's Pipevine - isn't Nature amazing!
    Shane x

  5. Beautiful photos of the swallowtail, and a good eye to see the female laying eggs. I'm happy to see you do your part too to grow larval host plants and I hope your caterpillars live to morph into maturity.

  6. The shot of the butterfly laying her eggs is just amazing!

  7. So interesting and your photos are wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing at Amaze Me Monday

  8. A beautiful butterfly and a very interesting post :-)

  9. Awesome photographs of the butterfly....!!
    JM Illinois

  10. What an amazing thing to see the butterfly laying her eggs! You've made me want to plant a Dutchman's Pipevine in my yard!

  11. Thank you for sharing that amazing capture of the butterfly laying eggs. Do you know whether Dutchman's Pipevine can grow in Virginia?

  12. What amazing creatures butterflies are! Thanks for the info and the great photos.

  13. Amazing photos, Betty, I am delighted to share that I will be featuring your post in this week's Home and Garden Thursday,


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