I have not identified this little guy, but he sure is beautiful, he blended with the leaves so well, if I had not seen him light, I would have missed him completely
The following photos are of a male and female Spicebush Swallotail, to tell there are two in each picture, you must click on the photo to enlarge.
As we sat in the swing watching the dogs, admiring our jungle and pool, the female floated slowly over the pool. Out of the blue sky came the male. they danced and floated, dropping almost to touch the pool water, high up and almost to the trees, around and around they danced.
We watched as they lit together on the hisbicus bush and my camera invaded their privacy.
Googling found these interesting facts.
In order to find females, males patrol flyways on hilltops or host plant sites. When patrolling males meet, they generally fly in opposite directions.
When a female appears, a male flies towards her and performs a brief courtship ritual, lasting less than a minute (they danced for 5 minutes as we watched). If the female is receptive to the courtship, copulation occurs, often lasting over an hour. That would be why I captured these photos, they were on the bush for at least an hour.
Spicebush swallowtails lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. Larvae hatch and initially resemble bird droppings, but come to mimic a snake, complete with eyespots, in later instars. These larvae form pupae which are green (summer) or brown (fall) and metamorphose into butterflies
this is the female after the male flew away.Females search out host plants by visual and chemical cues, then land on a plant and drum the leaf with their forelegs to "taste" it, and confirm it as a host plant.
These lovely creatures only live 2 days to 2 weeks, but their lives are important to us.
Adults are generic pollinators for many flowers, inadvertently pollinating while feeding on nectar. Since spicebush swallowtails are generic pollinators, they are also beneficial to crops.