Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly on a Zinnia Flower

Sunday, September 25, 2022,

This is a female Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly alighting upon a Zinnia flower. Do you know how I know? It is solely because I know several people that are much smarter and more informed than I am. To be quite honest, most of the folks I am acquainted with tend to be much more intelligent than myself. Of course, that’s not a very high bar. 🙂 

Friends of mine were able to identify both the flower and the butterfly for me. Actually, I had correctly guessed that this was an Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly, but my friend Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, who is a scientist at Cornell University, was able to further identify this beautiful critter as female. How cool is that? I told you I knew smart people. 🙂 JK 


4 thoughts on “Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly on a Zinnia Flower

  1. It’s a great shot — so sharp and crisp and clear! Nicely balanced and colorful. I like it! 🙂 Did your friend say what the distinguishing marks were to let her know it was a female?

  2. Hi Michele,
    In this pic, we’re viewing the undersides of the wings, where both the male and female are virtually identical. The upper sides of those wings are where the male and female wings differ a good deal. However, the females have stouter bodies than the males, with a more rounded bottom of the abdomen than the males, who tend to have a pointier back end.
    Here’s a link to a page which shows the differences in upper wing color. It also shows the differences in the abdomens, although it doesn’t make mention of those differences.

  3. Wow. Your friend is good! I looked at the pictures on the link and I would have guessed male from what’s shown on the top of the wing, but I’m no expert and the bottoms look the same, as you noted. Impressive! Thanks.

  4. Michele,
    My friend Jody is, indeed, very good. And very knowledgeable. She has helped me several times in the past. She rocks. JK.

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