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There are many species of butterflies that are resident in southern Arizona and each of them has something to offer in terms of aesthetic appeal. In my book the Giant Swallowtail is the showiest of all of them.
This is a very large butterfly: Its wings span the palm of my hand. Those brilliant black and yellow wings make it noticeable from dozens of meters away. When viewed up close one sees the band of blue with a single ruby red spot that runs across its lower wing.
In most years these big butterflies are a relatively common sight in the Tucson area beginning in mid-September and extending well into October. They were almost entirely absent last year, casualties no doubt of our year-long drought. The summer rains this year have brought them back in substantial numbers. I’ve seen them often feeding on the Bird of Paradise plants in our backyard.
Giant Swallowtails are a very beautiful addition to our local environment. But I’ve read that citrus farmers consider these butterflies to be pests because their caterpillars feed on citrus fruit. Pests they may be but that doesn’t detract an iota from their beauty.
Image made with a Canon R5, Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 IS L zoom lens, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 640, f7.1 @ 1/2500, -2/3 stop exposure compensation.