Black Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail

A Black Swallowtail at Eastern Neck Island refuge.

The Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) is a large butterfly in the swallowtail family and extremely close in appearance to the Pipevine and Spicebush swallowtails.

Like the other darker swallowtails, it has blue, white and orange markings, and very similar and related patterns on the top and bottom-side of its wings.

I would love to tell you all the places in Maryland I have seen black swallowtails, but I really can’t be sure. In flight, its extremely difficult to differentiate the black from the spicebush and pipevine and even if I get a shot, I usually need to studdy the markings closely to make a correct assessment.

I took the photo above at Eastern Neck Island Refuge, so I have definitely seen one there. I believe I also photographed a Black Swallowtail at Dan’s Mountain WMA, and possibly at Idylwild WMA.

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