Butterflies that have visited our garden

The butterflies on this page are in the order that the Stokes Butterfly book arranges them: Swallowtails, Whites and Sulphurs, Gossamer Wings [Hairstreaks and Blues], Brush-footed [Varied Brushfoots (Anglewings and Painted Ladies), Fritillaries, Crescents and Checkerspots, Admirals], and Milkweed butterflies

We also have many interesting moths and skippers visit our yard.

Pipevine swallowtail
(Battus philenor)
 ©Janet Allen Pipevine swallowtail

Although I planted a pipevine many years ago, when I noticed that this butterfly wasn't listed in the Butterflies and Moths of North America list for my county, I felt rather foolish. But the year after I had given up and severely pruned my pipevine, I saw this butterfly, confirmed by bugguide.net!

HOST PLANTS:Pipevine of course!

More pipevine swallowtail info at Butterflies and Moths of North America

Black swallowtail
(Papilio polyxenes)
 ©Janet Allen Black swallowtail

Black swallowtail butterflies are one of the three types of butterflies I raise inside.

Because it has roughly equal amounts of yellow and blue, I know this individual is a male.

HOST PLANTS: The native host plant is zizia; non-natives are parsley, dill, fennel, queen Anne's lace and similar plants.

More black swallowtail info at Butterflies and Moths of North America

Black swallowtail
(Papilio polyxenes)
 ©Janet Allen Female black swallowtail

The female has more blue than yellow.

It's sitting on its host plant, zizia.

Giant swallowtail
(Papilio cresphontes)
 ©Janet Allen Giant swallowtail

It's striking because it's so large and so boldly-patterned. A very beautiful butterfly! It seemed to like the swamp milkweed flowers most of all.

HOST PLANTS: Trees and herbs of the citrus family (Rutaceae) including citrus species, prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum), hop tree (Ptelea trifoliata), and common rue (Ruta graveolens).

More giant swallowtail info at Butterflies and Moths of North America

Giant swallowtail
(Papilio cresphontes)
 ©Janet Allen Giant swallowtail

The upper part of its wings has a very bold pattern. I love the contrast with its tan body.

The giant swallowtail is the largest butterfly in the United States.

Giant swallowtail
(Papilio cresphontes)
 ©Janet Allen Giant swallowtail caterpillar

I was fortunate to see this caterpillar—though not in my yard. I saw it at a local native plant nursery that is growing its host plant at the request of one of its customers. It pays to request things!

In this case, the nursery was growing just five or six Ptelea trifoliata plants, but even these small plants had five or six caterpillars all over them. The power of host plants!

I'm looking forward to growing a host plant once he has established a stock of plants to sell.

Eastern tiger swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus)
 ©Janet Allen Eastern swallowtail

An eastern tiger swallowtail nectaring on joe-pye weed, a favorite of many butterflies and bees.

HOST PLANTS: Tulip tree, black cherry tree, spicebush, red maple, American elm, and sassafras.

More Eastern tiger swallowtail info at Butterflies and Moths of North America

Spicebush swallowtail
(Papilio troilus)
 ©Janet Allen Spicebush swallowtail

We have a lot of spicebushes, specifically for the spicebush swallowtail. We didn't ever see spicebush swallowtails, though, for a number of years. Finally, we saw one, but we now realize that we may have seen them before, but thought they were a black swallowtail. It's likely they've been around since we've noticed evidence of their presence: a rolled-up spicebush leaf edge that the caterpillars had made.

HOST PLANTS: Spicebush of course! Also, sassafras.

More Spicebush swallowtail info at Butterflies and Moths of North America

Spicebush swallowtail
(Papilio troilus)
 ©Janet Allen Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar

This is what the caterpillar does to the leaf. I don't have any photos of the caterpillar itself since it stays hidden away until nighttime, when it comes out to eat.