Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Also known as the American Swallowtail, the Parsnip Swallowtail or the Parsley Swallowtail.
The eastern black swallowtail is one of our most common and most studied swallowtails. Although it is admired for its beauty, it is one of the very few butterflies that may occasionally be considered a pest.
Male black swallowtails can sometimes mimic the female wing-back pattern, and therefore succeed in reduced predation as well.
Territorial organization leads the black swallowtail to engage in a lek mating system. These butterflies satisfy the four criteria for lekking behavior,
# 1 - there is no male parental care.
# 2 - males aggregate at specific sites for display.
# 3 -the only resource females find at the lek are the males themselves.
# 4 - females can select their mates.
Males can only mate twice a day, but females will mate multiple times to replace a sperm supply that has deteriorated with time. Papilio polyxenes has a long mating period due to the female's tendency to mating multiple times and having a broad emergence period. This allows males to mate several times during their lifetime, despite only being able to copulate twice on the same day. The black swallowtail engages in brief courtship flights, and copulation will last around 45 minutes.
Avg. Wingspan: 6.9–8.4 cm / 2.7” – 3.3”
(Females are typically larger than males.)
Diet: caterpillars use a variety of herbs in the
carrot family (Apiaceae) as host plants.
Diet: adults eat nectar from a variety of plants
including clover, milkweed, thistles, and phlox.
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta Order: Lepidoptera