A Passing Spicebush Swallowtail

So few butterflies have visited our backyard this summer. Their numbers have been the lowest I’ve ever seen.


So, I got excited when a spicebush swallowtail flew across our backyard on its way south. It didn’t stop.


Our yard’s been full of them at times over the years … them and many other butterfly species too.


A butterfly in an odd position usually means it’s in the clutches of a predator.


In this case it was a female crab spider.


Females are much bigger than the males.

Crab spiders have the ability to change color to match the color of the flower they’re on. Obviously, this one hadn’t changed yet. I have no idea how long the change takes.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Nature red in tooth and claw but still beautiful.


  2. I’ve never seen that butterfly. It’s a beauty but it’s too bad the spider got it.
    I’ve read that they can take several days to change color.


  3. Thanks for sharing. I saw one the other day on some milkweed. I always thought these were black swallowtails. Thanks for the photos so I could identify that what I saw was a spicebush swallowtail as well.


    • The spicebush swallowtail, black swallowtails and pipevine all resemble each other to a certain degree… and then there’s the dark form tiger swallowtail too.


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