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 Harry Fuller Birding Tours

Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly

If you've been out and about in California recently, you can't help but have noticed a large blue/black butterfly foraging for nectar. The are Battus philenor, the Pipevine Swallowtail. We are often struck by the iridescent blue sheen of the upper wing surfaces, but the Marin Open Space walk group yesterday was treated to a mating pair of these wonderful creature up on Big Rock Ridge, displaying the striking patterns of the under wings. The many foraging PV Swallowtails in Volunteer Canyon will soon be laying eggs on the lush growth of California Pipevine (Aristolochia californica) covering a ceanothus tree in Volunteer Canyon's native plant garden. Chemicals in the pipevine accumulate in the larvae as they eat the pipevine leaves and make both larvae and the adult butterflies distasteful to predators.

Silk Moth

 Silk Moth.  Photo: Len Blumin  Cascade Canyon walk today with Marin Open space was short on birds, but filled with butterflies and flowers. This giant silk moth, a fresh specimen of the  Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) was found by Ron, much to the delight of all. At about 5" in wingspan it was an awesome sight. The "eyes" in the wings appeared to have metallic silver centers when viewed from certain angles. "Oh my" indeed!

(Photo and text by Len Blumin)

STILL TO COME in this section:

Cold-Blooded Vertebrates


TOWHEE.NET:  Harry Fuller, 820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, OR 97128