The first swallowtail butterfly of the year showed up today on my purple coneflowers. I've been waiting for them to arrive! This particular one is fairly small, with a wingspan of perhaps three inches, and very brightly colored, I think it's freshly metamorphosed from its caterpillar stage. This cutie is a Black Swallowtail. I'm hoping the Tiger Swallowtails arrive soon, too. They're larger, and lighter in color, and it's so much fun to watch both types flittering around the gardens. Click here for a cool website explaining the life cycle of a Black Swallowtail.
This side view shows the polka-dotted body of the butterfly, almost matching the coloring on its wings. It has been outside today on these flowers all afternoon. Both photos are clickable thumbnails, so enlarge them for better viewing!
To see the butterflies from last summer, click here.
NOTE— If my glasses weren't broken, there would be better photos. I really can't shoot photos with the contact lenses I'm wearing right now, they're at least 8-9 years old and I'm walking around in a bit of a blur.