One fun thing I’ve been doing every year is to look for new life forms in the garden. I find there are always newcomers every year and the variety seems to increase year after year. I guess they see our garden as their sanctuary as much as we do. We provide the basic necessities: food, water, safety and a poison free (organic) place to live and raise a new generation. They follow their food into the garden.
This year and late in the season I have only seen two Monarch butterflies, very disappointing. However, there are two new butterflies that I haven’t seen in our garden past, that showed up for the first time this year: the Giant Swallowtail and a Red-Spotted purple. I don’t want to say it balances out my disappointment but it does make me feel better. I’m still concerned about the disappearing Monarch though.
This Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) looks a little bit bigger than the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). The wings are blackish above with yellow spots. The under wings and body are yellow-colored.
We have a lot of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails this year. They are so relaxed that they stop flipping their wings while they are taking nectar. The Giant Swallowtail never stops moving during the time they spend in the garden.
When I first saw this Red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) butterfly, I thought it was a Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) that had its tail nipped off. But when it landed on the ground and folded its wings I realized it was a new type of butterfly.