Beautiful Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

June 20 thru the 26th was National Pollinator Week. It's a time of reminder concerning the important work moths, bees, butterflies and other creatures do to keep plants growing and reproducing. The Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) is a beautiful butterfly that spends its caterpillar portion of life almost exclusively in a pawpaw tree. The leaves of the tree (pretty much the sole food) contain a toxin that helps protect the Zebra Swallowtail caterpillar. It is believed that once the Zebra Swallowtail become a butterfly, some of the pawpaw leaf toxin remains in the butterfly body to help repel birds, spiders and insects. As an adult butterfly it maybe live up to 6 months.

 

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