The Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) is a common black swallowtail butterfly found in eastern US. It is also known as the Green-Clouded butterfly. The swallowtail derives its name from its most common host plant, the spicebush (a member of the genus Lindera). And sitting there we caught it.
For some reason this summer in Maryland is generous for butterflies.We missed cicadas, but get butterflies instead.
Last weekend we went for a regular walk in our local Seneca park to watch beavers, but this time it happened to be a butterfly walk instead.
First, we saw a bunch of butterflies gathering on the butterfly bush near the park entrance. It was at least a couple of dozens of swallowtails occupying the bush, busy with choosing the best flowers. It was a very quiet and polite gathering though. One could hear only a very subtle rustle and see only very gracious movements.
As it appears butterfly bush is considered an invasive plant in Maryland.
Then we meet another butterfly gathering on one of the openings in the park.
Spicebush Swallowtails drinking nectar from Lantana species on one of the park openings
A group of male Eastern Tiger Swallowtails participates in puddling. In this activity they congregate on mud, damp gravel, or puddles to drink water from mud. Mud is very rich in minerals and amino acids which help butterflies in reproduction. Males that puddle are typically just came from chrysalises, and puddle only for their first couple of days. They look and behave as if they were little drunk, maybe that is the case. Females also puddle, but rather occasionally and they did not gather in big groups whily puddle. Very much like people.