Monday, September 04, 2006
Not seen and seen
I went out late on Saturday night and I looked at the gibbous moon to perhaps see or imagine I had seen the plume of dust rising from the lunar surface as the SMART 1 lunar craft crashed into it. No luck; I looked until my feeble eyes watered, but did not see anything but the mountains on the moon.
Next morning I got out quite early to do a little gardening before the heat of the day: throw some fertilizer around, water, trim a bit, clean up. Not in my looking-for-bugs-mindset at all (repeat after me: must get yard work done, MUST GET YARD WORK DONE), I suddenly saw this swallowtail butterfly settled on an rose bush. I believe this is a giant swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes, although none of my guides lists that as a common species here. There have been quite a few of these large (maybe 4" wingspan) butterflies floating through the garden this year, but they are hard to photograph because they rarely stop to nectar. If that is the species, the larvae feed on citrus and disguise themselves as bird droppings. I'm on the lookout for those, as that would confirm the giant swallowtails are breeding around here.
Maybe if I head out looking for, say, diaprepes root weevils, I'll end up flicking swallowtail larvae off my shirt thinking they're bird poop.