Rearing Papilio rutulus
Our journey begins on the banks of the Santa Ana River in Riverside County, California. This is called a riparian habitat - plenty of water and plenty of willows. In fact, there were at least four species of willow (Salix spp.) at this location: Shiny Willow, Red Willow, Sandbar Willow, and Arroyo Willow. Salix is one of the host plants of Papilio rutulus, the Western Tiger Swallowtail. These gorgeous butterflies were found in abundance here, nectaring and flying lazily along the shaded dirt roads along the side of the river and high up in the trees.
This series of 19 photos was taken over a two-year period. So, the dates on the photos are not in exact chronological order. Click 'Next' below to continue the adventure.