Sunday, March 7, 2010

anise swallowtail ~ 03/07/10 ~ Wilder Ranch

anise swallowtail
Papilio zelicaon

Shown here is the yellow-form anise swallowtail. This butterfly appeared mostly black when flying with strong flashes of buttery-yellow stripes, which is interesting because I generally think of anise swallowtails as being black butterflies anyways. Apparently, the black-form is not as common. I dare anyone to find me a correctly identified black-form anise swallowtail through google images. (Sorry, Art Shapiro, but google thinks your image of a P. indra is a P. zelicaon!)

We spotted three anise individuals along the path to Fern Gully at Wilder Ranch. Like some other butterflies and many dragonflies, they seemed to be a bit territorial to me. They flew very quickly back and forth in a jagged flight over a fixed, sunny 30 yard spot, coming to check us out (even flying between us), and swirling in frantic pairs off the cliff until one would finally fly away. Check out Glassberg's comparison of hilltopping to singles' bars in Butterflies through Binoculars: The West - it's very entertaining! I'm sure I've mentioned previously on Nature ID my frequent observations of how humans act similarly to the animals they love to describe.

As a side note, I've linked to Art's site again in the scientific name above. I'm finding that I prefer his site over the Butterflies and Moths of North America site (linked in the common name), because Shapiro provides better details specific to CA.


Brad said...

Beautiful pic. And great blog. Thanks for checking mine out. I'll be adding yours to my blog roll. I definitely want to keep coming back here. Love how diverse your id'ing is.

Nature ID said...

Thank you for your comment, Brad. I know a little about butterflies and other insects, but most everything else has been a challenge for me to ID. Good luck with your move! It's too bad you have to leave your yard behind after all that work.