Answered: What is This Butterfly and Why is it at the River

black swallowtail butterfly.

black swallowtail butterfly drinking nectar.

While visiting the Scenic Eleven Point river, you might find a butterfly or two. Or an abundance of large, blue butterflies. These butterflies, pipevine swallowtail, are a common sight around the river. But what are they and why are they there?

The butterfly got its name

The pipevine swallowtail butterfly got its name from the family it belongs to, the swallowtail, and the plant that the butterfly is especially fond of, pipevine. The swallowtail is from the insect class, a family sub category of swallowtail. Swallowtails are large colorful butterflies. They often mimic the patterns of other butterflies. The swallowtail also has an average wingspan of about three inches. The pipevine swallowtail was first identified in 1771 by a man named Linnaues.

Where do they live?

Predominately located in southern United states and most of central America, the pipevine swallowtail butterfly likes to stick around warmer climate zones. Although there is the occasional, rare sighting of the pipevine butterfly in Canada. These iridescent blue butterflies are mainly found in the southern states and Mexico; year round when temperatures stay above freezing. In places that do get below freezing, the pipevine butterflies will migrate down south to central America.

Why are they at the river?

The pipevine swallowtail butterflies will often be found around rivers, such as the Eleven Point, mud puddles, and  dead animals. This may seem repulsive and questionable to many people. The truth of the matter is not that these butterflies are dirty insects but that they get vital nutrients from these places. These moist aforementioned areas are perfect for adult pipevine butterflies to gather essential nutrients to survive the southern climate.

Leave a Reply