Nutmeg and I have been lurking over at one of those nature identification sites. We don’t know everything, but we like to look stuff up. Here’s a butterfly that was giving folks a hard time. Do you know what it is? Or even what it isn’t?
What it isn’t in nature is always a good start for identification!
We’ll check your ‘it’s nots’ in the comments and be back later with an identification!
This butterfly seems totally misnamed! It’s the Red-spotted Purple, a woodland butterfly that is trying to mimic the Pipevine swallowtail. It does that on he underside, which we unfortunately didn’t catch a photo of. But this entomology site at the University of Florida has a good shot, as does Butterflies and Moths of North America.
We don’t have photos of all the black butterflies our area, but here are a few. The Red-spotted Purple definitely isn’t a swallowtail–and there are several different dark swallowtails in our area of the Mid-Atlantic for it to mingle with.
The dark form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
The Black Swallowtail, with has orange spots with black dots in the center on the inside edge of the hind wing.
And the Spicebush Swallowtail, with blue crescents along the outside edge of the hind wing.
Be on the lookout for these differences–you may be seeing more different kinds of butterflies than you realize!