Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus

The most common Swallowtail in the Ozark Mountains. Except during peaks of the Eastern Tiger broods at puddles. This is the male. Note the ghost of powder blue shaped like another butterfly on the hindwings. The female has only a suggestion of blue, much less well defined. The Pipevine's blue is reflective and not defined in this shape and it does not have the strong spot row on the forewing upper surface. These are nectar lovers as with most of the Swallowtails. When it nectars it does not flap or flaps at a much slower rate than the frantic flapping Pipevine.

This is a late season Spicey exterior. Compare with the Pipevine which has rounded orange spots in a more circular loop. The blue of the Spicebush is less shimmering and reflective. Both, of course, are lovely.

A trio of mudders showing the exterior markings. Likely all males as with most mudding events.

The head graces David Wagner's wonderful caterpillar book. And this is one of our finest looking NA caterpillars for sure. The first three instars or molts of the Spicebush resemble a bird dropping. These late instars are supposed to mimic snakes in the face. Cheryl has peeled open the leaf hide that these guys make to take this shot. Birds would see only the snake face according to Wagner when they look into this leaf-roll shelter.