Monday, July 19, 2010

Mud-Puddling Pale Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies

From April through late-July you can find Pale Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies in British Columbia. I see them most often flittering around our cabin on Powell Lake in June and July. They are an impressive, large butterfly with a pale yellow background and heavy black "tiger" stripes. They like hilly woodlands near streams and water. Powell Lake fits that perfectly.

The larvae of the Pale Tiger Swallowtail eat foliage of woody plants then turn into pupa to wait out the winter. Butterflies emerge in the spring to enjoy the sweet nectar of blooming flowers, and start the mating and egg laying cycle all over again.

The males have an interesting behaviour called mud-puddling. They use small puddles and muddy ground to get moisture and nutrients from the damp soil. Recently, I found two butterflies in my garden doing just that. Here's a short video of their dance-like endeavor.

When I took the video I didn't know the purpose of their activity. Now, with a little research I've learned something new about the world around me. Have you learned something new lately? -- Margy


  1. I learned something new too! I'm glad you included that video of the butterflies doing that mud puddling. I love learning things about nature especially.

  2. I only recently learned that the butterflies need mud for nutrients...I looked it up after I saw numerous butterflies busy in the mud after I watered. They are so and seem so full of joy.

    It's a super video, Margy...I wish I'd thought of doing it!

  3. I've learned something new, thanks to you! I just saw one of these butterflies when I was hiking around Lake Whatcom, but I didn't know what kind it was.