eastern tiger swallowtail

Worn late-summer Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Worn late-summer Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Note the faded and ragged wing tips, completely missing the ‘swallow tail’. They’re almost too degraded to identify the sex, but based on my other photos I think it’s a male. The light form of the female has much more blue on the hind wings. Still, it’s kind of a tough call.

Worn late-summer Eastern Tiger Swallowtail with bee companion, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Late-summer Eastern Tiger Swallowtail with bee companion.

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  1. Is seasonal “disintegration” (gradual fading and fraying and breaking off of the wings) part of the normal– and irreversible, I would assume– cycle of a butterfly’s life?

    • Yes, they’re pretty ephemeral creatures. Many of the winged adults only live for a week or two, though some individuals live longer depending on the timing of their emergence. Monarchs are among the longest living species, up to 9 months sometimes, since they migrate to warmer climes. In general, though, it seems that the longer any butterfly lives the more bedraggled it tends to look.



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