Saturday, July 28, 2012

Three Tiger Swallowtails

Scientific-Poet Looks at Butterflies

of delicate structure
and ethereal flight
flitting aimlessly for
mate or some nectar

the family name
from two Greek words
lepi - scale, ptera - wing

siphoning mouthparts
coiled like a watchspring
under the head
until it's needed

unfurls into tube
called a proboscis
probes deep into flowers
searching for nectar

thread-like antennae
long and slender
knobbed or hooked
at their tips

narrow extensions
on the hindwings
which resemble
forked tails of swallows

two pairs of wings
covered like roof shingles
with thousands of scales
overlapping and minuscule

pigments in scales
and structure of prisms
bends white light
to produce iridescence

intricate patterns
refracting the light
kaleidoscope of color
crown jewels of insect world

courtship involves
stroking of wings
mating may last for hours
often occurs during flight

courtship and mating
egg-laying and pollinating
life-span is short
some live only two to three weeks

egg, larva, pupa, adult
caterpillar to chrysalis
hidden transformation
the miracle of metamorphosis

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail  (Papilio glaucus)

Photo Location:  Harbor Springs, (Harbor Springs) Michigan


The Practical Entomologist - (Entomologist) Rick Imes  c 1992

The Handy Bug Answer Book -  (Answer Book) Dr. Gilbert Waldbauer c 1998