Butterfly and the Bougainvillea

I was visiting a garden and watched a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly feeding on a Bougainvillea plant. The Bougainvillea was very colorful and the butterfly was flying around landing various places and would stop for a short time when it found nectar.

Here is a profile picture of the butterfly. The variety is the Western Tiger Swallowtail which has a range that covers much of most of western North America, from British Columbia easterly to North Dakota and New Mexico then southerly to Baja California.

The butterflies lay eggs on the underside of leaves. The caterpillars emerge about 4 days later and feed primarily on tree leaves. The caterpillars molt 5 times before pupating. The butterfly can emerge in as little as 15 days though in Fall it might not emerge until the following Spring.

This top view clearly shows this butterfly’s markings.

This Bougainvillea has been shaped into an arch which shows the climbing nature of this variety. The flowers are yellow which are surrounded by purplish/pinkish bracts. The plant is evergreen where rainfall occurs all year but will loose its leaves if there is a dry season.

This is a closer view of the top of the arch. Bougainvilleas are native plants of South America but will grow in most areas with a warm climate.

Some of the branches seen against the blue sky.

More Information

Wikipedia entry on Western Tiger Swallowtail

Wikipedia entry on Bougainvillea

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