In trying to precisely identify this swallowtail, I discovered my state of North Carolina selected the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) as its official state butterfly in mid-June of 2012. After such a rancorous session, who knew what the legislature was really up to? I will not comment on the livermush part of the bill.
This North American native butterfly species is quite commonly found across the entire eastern United States. It has adapted to many host plants and to a wide range of habitats, including, of course, gardens.
There are many interesting things to know about these butterflies. Males are usually yellow. Females are dimorphic and can be yellow or black. When the female is yellow, its upper hindwing is more bluish (so I assume this is a female).
Here is one fact that may not be well-known. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is:
generally considered the first North American butterfly to have been drawn. The first drawing of it was by John White. White was an artist, cartographer, and is also known as the governor of the Roanoke Island colony that came to be known as the “Lost Colony.”
In this garden yesterday the native Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was attracted to a non-native plant. It fed on the nectar of Lantana camera.
Though reported to be drought-tolerant, a few weeks ago this lantana appeared to be completely dried up. Since then there have been fierce storms, intense days of triple-digit heat and more storms. Though sprawled and splayed after such abuse this shrub is rallying with bright, cheery flower clusters of red, pink, orange and yellow.
1. Michelle Czaikowski Underhill (2012). “Eastern tiger swallowtail” . NCPedia. Retrieved July 28, 2012.