One of the joys of planting a pollinator garden is watching majestic butterflies flutter in and sip a little nectar.
Today a Western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) took a liking to a butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) in our Vacaville garden.
The "very gravid" female (as identified by Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis) also nectared on Verbena before departing--probably to lay her eggs on a favorite host plant, liquidambar (sweet gum) or the nearby sycamore.
During her 10-minute visit that graced our garden, the brilliantly colored yellow-and-black butterfly, with a wingspan of three to four inches, managed to evade the California scrub jays looking for a quick meal.
A meal for the butterfly, none for the bird.
Author - Communications specialist
A "very gravid" female Western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) nectars on a butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The gravid Western tiger swallowtail looks up from the butterfly bush. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This image of the gravid Western tiger swallowtail shows the enlarged abdomen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Orange and blue spots accent this yellow and black butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)