Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, February 07, 2011

Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly - in Kangaloon

This afternoon, I was down on Tourist Road, in Kangaloon, when I spotted a fellow sufferer - a person wandering along alone; looking at the ground; with a camera in hand.

Naturally we hit up a conversation, and shared some tips about what to see, where. Orchids, mostly, but also other things too. It's nice to share ideas and experiences.

Anyway, my colleague has sharper eyes than I do, and she spotted this wonderful Butterfly. Chequered Swallowtail  (Papilio demoleus)
Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly

It was remarkably tame, and allowed us to take many photographs.
Don Herbison-Evans comments: "Usually seen rapidly flying in one direction at a constant height, they only occasionally land, and catching one is a real thrill." So I consider myself lucky to get so close to this one.
Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly -  a lovely creature
 The Chew Family Brisbane Insects and Spiders site notes the lines on the abdomen of this Butterfly as distinctive. I was pleased to be able to get this image, from the side.

Abdomen of the Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly

Here one can see something of the underside of the Butterfly's wings. 
It was a large Butterfly, and it is related to the familiar Orchard Butterfly.
That ought give you some sense of the size.
Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly - underwings

Then when I returned home, I received an email from another friend and Orchid colleague, Kirsten, who had been to the Brindabella Ranges (beyond Canberra) last weekend. She had found the same Butterfly as I had just photographed.

Clearly, there is a seasonal factor which produced the result that two separate observers, several hundred kilometres apart, were able to approach this normally unapproachable Butterfly. The Butterflies do not read Don Herbison-Evans' website.
Kirsten's photo of the Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly
 This image by Kirsten shows the 
diagnostic "eye spot" which is yellow and blue.
The Chew Family describes it as a "peacock eye mark" on the underwing.
Kirsten's Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly on a Thistle plant.
This Butterfly is an international species.
I am not sure if it is introduced, or native with a wide distribution. Looks like it is naturally occurring, especially as Kirsten found it in the Brindabellas, and I found it in Kangaloon on native grass. There are few introduced Butterflies expected in either locality.


mick said...

Great photos of that beautiful butterfly. I wish I knew what you do to make butterflies sit still to have their photo taken?! Then never will for me!

Flabmeister said...

I am with Mick on this one. By way of example I have concluded that Orchard Butterflies share a lot of DNA with Eastern Spinebills. Not only are they rarely still but they seem to fly as fast as I wish to run carrying my camera.

Was your Chequered swallowtail in peak health?


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick and Martin
I thought it unusual, and clearly Don H-E would too, form the note i have posted.
Martin, I wondered if it was trying to lay eggs? I saw no evidence that it was, but there was something going on. It was in fine condition - wings and body look perfect. Kirsten's one is showing wear on the wings.
One of life's mysteries, and I was just happy to get the images.

Snail said...

I agree with everyone else! So many butterflies here and so difficult to photograph.

What a beautiful butterfly. Just goes to show that it's not all about flashy colours.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Snail.
Yes, the markings are just beautiful, but subtle.
Then there are the two red spots near the centre base of the two wings. such a lovely "detail".
The fine markings on the top are very beautiful too.
Altogether a wonderful Butterfly, but as you say, not bright, nor showy.

catmint said...

i have seen these in my garden

Denis Wilson said...

Well that's very good, then.
Not at all common, I understand. Lovely thing.

Celestial Elf said...

Great Pictures :D
thought you might like my machinima film the butterfly's tale~
Bright Blessings
elf ~