Western Tiger Swallowtail

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus), photo Christian Gronau

Papilio rutulus, the Western Tiger Swallowtail, is a swallowtail butterfly belonging to the Papilionidae family. It is a member of the genus Papilio, of which Papilio appalachiensis and Papilio xuthus are also members.

This Western Tiger Swallowtail was spotted by Christian Gronau, July 2, 2018, in the Southpoint area on Cortes Island, a damaged individual, nectaring on Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria).

Also spotted by Debbie Dragseth, on Siskin Lane, May 15, 2020.

Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between the pale swallowtail and western swallowtail. The difference between these two is the colour of the last little bright crescent above the tails:  yellow in the western tiger and orange in the pale swallowtail (Christian Gronau)!

You can find more information on these sites:

Butterflies and Moths

Wikipedia

Comparison between Western Swallowtail (left, yellow crescent) and Pale Swallowtail (right, orange crescent), photo Christian Gronau

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus), photo Debbie Dragseth, Siskin Lane, May 15/20, 2020

This butterfly illustrates the advantage of having a conspicuous “swallow”-tail: the victim of a bird attack, this individual lost only the extremities of its hind wings. It almost lost the final crescent, which makes it difficult to discern whether there was any orange colour present. Fortunately, the overall coloration is a deep yellow, which clearly makes this a Western Tiger Swallowtail. Photo Christian Gronau. Nectaring on Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)July 13, 2020, 11:00 Southpoint Road, Cortes Island

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