Black swallowtail butterfly

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As I passed the butterfly cage on Saturday, I happened to notice a small crack in the chrysalis. I quickly grabbed the camera, hoping to catch what I knew was about to happen.

new black swallowtail butterfly just emerged from chrysalis

In less than a minute, the black swallowtail butterfly had emerged. The wings were small and crumpled, and the abdomen was very large.

black swallowtail butterfly underwings

The butterfly gradually pumped fluid from its abdomen into its wings. Within five minutes it looked more normal, however the wings were still too soft for it to fly. It hung upside down while the wings hardened, and within a couple of hours it began to open and close them.

black swallowtail butterfly top wings

The yellow of the top wings let me know this was a male. Female’s wings have more blue, as in the photograph on my previous swallowtail blog post.

When I took it outside, the butterfly quickly flew away and was soon out of sight.

I’m amazed to think that thirty-two days ago a tiny caterpillar emerged from an egg. That caterpillar quickly grew, made a chrysalis, and this beautiful butterfly emerged. I’m grateful to once again have witnessed this transformation.

7 thoughts on “Black swallowtail butterfly”

  1. Loved being shown & easily able to compare the differences in coloration of the female as opposed to male. Thanks!

  2. WOW!!!
    I’m searching around in my backyard every day or so.
    Nothing yet.
    Today I saw a black butterfly…slightly smaller than the Black Swallowtail and it appeared to have similar markings but not the tails ??? It was hanging around my cherry tree which is full of very ripe cherries.
    Still hoping for a Monarch!

    1. Patty, You might have seen a Red-spotted Purple. They resemble dark swallowtails except for no tail, and they like rotting fruit.
      I, too, am still hoping for a monarch.

  3. Thursday, while out on the boat we got near the shoreline and suddenly, lots and lots of black butterflies flew all around our boat. They did not have any markings and were black velvet in appearance. Never had seen anything like this before. What kind of butterfly are they?

    1. Thanks for your comments. I, too, am amazed at the mystery and wonder of the butterfly metamorphosis. I appreciate the symbolism of transformation and hope. Best wishes.

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