Male Tiger Swallowtail, Little Maquoketa River Valley, Iowa

It has been a good year so far with the butterfly population in our woods here on top of the bluffs above the Little Maquoketa River Valley. We see a nice variety and overall numbers are better than during some other years. The stars of the bunch are always the three different species of swallowtails.

Female Tiger Swallowtail, black form

Friday night I saw a male Tiger Swallowtail interacting with another black looking swallowtail. First I thought he was fighting with a Black Swallowtail, a species we see here as well, but after it landed on one off our house plants it became clear that it was a female Tiger Swallowtail. I guess love was in the air. Males are always yellow while the females can be yellow or black. The yellow form is pretty common while black females are found more southwards according to my books. The last time I had one in front of the lens was 2015.

Both photos were made with the long lens at 600 mm (SIGMA 150-600 Sport), because I was actually on the hunt for hummingbirds. Like with my other wildlife photography I prefer to make an environmental portrait. Though I feel it is not so important to count every little hair, the insect still has to be sharp.