City Cast

Where To Spot These Beautiful Black And Blue Butterflies

Brooke Lewis
Posted on August 29
A black and blue spicebush swallowtail perches on a purple flower.

Spicebush swallowtails sometimes mimic the coloration of the toxic pipeline swallowtail to ward off predators. (Marcia Straub/Getty Images)

Along the trails of Houston Arboretum, you might spot a spicebush swallowtail. These butterflies are a beautiful black and blue. They thrive in moist environments, forested areas, and enjoy flowers, specifically butterfly weed. If they get hungry, they drink nectar from flowers and also take moisture and other nutrients from puddles and wet grounds. Sometimes they can mimic the color of the toxic pipevine swallowtail as Kelsey Low of Houston Arboretum explains below.

Kelsey Low of Houston Arboretum shares this: “They mimic the coloration of the toxic pipevine swallowtail, hoping to get passed over by predators who have learned that black-and-blue butterflies taste terrible. Even their caterpillars are mimics: they start out looking like bird droppings, and then when they’re too large to pull off that disguise, they change to resemble miniature snakes!”

Have you spotted one of these before or do you have an insect you want featured in Urban Almanac? Email me.

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