Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

One of the reasons I enjoy gardening so much is the ability to experience nature. Today I was treated to a butterfly I’ve never noticed before. What caught my attention was the blue coloration on its wings but otherwise it looked very similar to a tiger swallowtail. It also had red markings on the underside of the wings and on the lower wings of the topside that I noticed as I was attempt to get a good photo. It was floating around the butterfly bush and rarely rested for more than a few seconds. I took several pictures hoping that one of them would turn out nicely but unfortunately I didn’t have my higher distance lens handy and couldn’t get a clear close-up. Tonight I think I positively identified it as a Zebra swallowtail butterfly (Eurytides marcellus).

I found a little information on the Zebra swallowtail butterfly at Connecting With Nature. Apparently the host plant for this swallowtail is the pawpaw tree! I don’t have one but surely there must be a few nearby.

I also sighted my first monarch butterfly of the season on a Monarda (Bee Balm). Unfortunately he didn’t pose well for the photo and he looks like a small sliver of color with his wings folded. I was more concerned with capturing pictures of the bluish colored swallowtail to identify it than I was with photographing the monarch.


Cool Fact: The Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly is the state butterfly of Tennessee

6 thoughts on “Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly”

  1. Zebras are a real treat. Don't you love how they seem to bounce along? There must be some native pawpaws somewhere near you.

  2. I first saw a zebra at Naomi's house last summer. This year I've seen them twice in my garden! They are really cool and sometimes hard to catch. Look for a giant swallowtail next-they are most cool too. No monarchs here yet.

  3. Dave,

    Pawpaws grow along creeks and rivers along the swallowtail highways. We had our first Zebra Swallowtail in our garden last Saturday the first sighting in 13 years at the garden!

  4. What luck, Dave! A zebra and a monarch on the same day! I see that some of my pawpaw leaves are looking chewed over, and am praying the zebra swallowtail larvae are busy eating and growing. And my milkweeds are blooming but we're still waiting for the monarchs to find them. Fingers crossed!!! Zebras and monarchs are two of my all-time favorites.

  5. I love these butterflies. They are so graceful and pretty. I've had a few monarchs already, but not many. Nice pics, even if you couldn't get real close.

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