Zebra Swallowtail - A Butterfly that Loves Paw Paw

Aw. How cute. Those Zebra Swallowtail butterflies sure love Paw Paw. Just look at them together. They make a perfect couple.

Actually, it is the Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars that love (feed on) Pawpaw. The Pawpaw plant, that is, not Pa Pa the granddad. Even if he acts like a plant.

The scientific name for this butterfly is Eurytides marcellus, named by Cramer in 1777. The Zebra Swallowtail is in the Papilionidae family.

You may have noticed in the picture above, that it appears as if the Zebra Swallowtail is eating dirt. Close. It is sipping moisture from the sand. The photo was taken on the banks of Lake Mitchell in Chilton County, AL- there were about 30 of these butterflies feeding there at the time that I made the photo. According to http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species?l=1353, these butterflies also "drink nectar from flowers including blueberry, blackberry, lilac, redbud, viper\'s bugloss, verbena, dogbane, and common milkweed." But, I just usually see them drinking from the sand- which isn't as picturesque as sipping nectar from the flowers.


Steve said...

You know I was just thinking that the early bugologist from the 1700's were not too orginal with naming. The Zebra this or Zebra that. We should have a renaming contest every 100 years to update the common names. Maybe call this one the Long Tail Mego Cheron (I know this is obscure, but Google Mego Cheron).

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Hi Steve, I see what you mean. Name the butterfly the Mego cheron after the white and black Star Trek character. Perhaps it would make geeks go outside and get some sunlight and actually begin to experience nature if they knew that there was a butterfly named after Mego Cheron. Great idea!

Daniel Spurgeon said...

A link to the Mego Cheron reference that Steve was referring to: Mego Cheron

...Kat said...

my favorite butterfly

I planted two cultivars of Paw Paw in the backyard and they have suckered into a GROVE of trees... a true paw paw patch

the wild paw paw I have planted in the woods are more the dwarf form and spread much more slowly

love your blog btw