July 8, 2010

A Butterfly By Another Name

I usually think of moths as butterflies' dowdy cousins. But aganist this Becky shasta daisy, this one was striking.

Unlike butterflies, moths rest with their wings open, which makes them much easier to photograph.

I happened to have my camera in the car and pulled into the driveway at just the right moment to capture a black swallowtail butterfly on my Dallas red lantana. She is a relative of the caterpillars that were munching on my parsley in the back yard. From what I've read online, you can tell she is a female because of the large amount of blue on the wings.

This, I believe, is a chrysalis or a butterfly cocoon. Technically, moths make cocoons (which are fuzzy), and  butterflies make chrysalides. Chrysalides can be green or brown depending on what is needed to blend into the surroundings. The disguise worked; I thought this one was dead lantana leaf that needed to be removed. But when I touched it (gently), it didn't crumble. In nine to 11 days, the butterfly should emerge.


  1. Did you ever read "A Girl of the Limberlost"? I always think of that book when I see moths - such a good nature/love/fun-read old classic.

  2. Never read it but I'll have to look into it. Thanks for the tip.