Butterfly Snatch - Catching The Swallowtail
How to Find and Catch Swallowtail Butterflies
Swallowtails are large, common, and beautiful, and are among the most popular species for butterfly collectors. But their powerful flight and reluctance to land can make them maddeningly difficult to catch. Also, they sometimes turn up their furry little noses at seemingly good habitat, making them difficult to find -- especially if you're on a collecting trip away from your home turf -- even though they tend to be abundant where they are found.
Drive along back roads through the woods.Swallowtails love to fly up and down sunny roadsides. The best ones will be roads with creeks or rivers running alongside them. When you start seeing swallowtails, park and begin the hunt.
Look for swallowtails "puddling" on sunlit wet ground.Male swallowtails love to "puddle" (drinking from wet ground), and are particularly fond of open, sunny expanses of wet gravel or sand on roads or alongside creeks. Large numbers may gather here, and the puddling butterflies are relatively easy to catch because they're just sitting on the ground.
Look for swallowtails on thistle flowers.Thistles are a particular favorite, and swallowtails are easy to catch when they're nectaring. Other good flowers include verbena, valerian, lilac, and butterfly-bush, although swallowtails will nectar from many others if need be.
Station yourself along a roadside, streamside, or similar location.Swallowtails like to fly up and down linear corridors -- roadsides, creeks, city streets, etc. -- while searching for mates. If you can't find any of them perched on the ground or on flowers, find a linear corridor that they're flying along, and station yourself along the corridor.
If you see one flying purposefully in one direction, try to head it off.A swallowtail flying along a roadside, streamside, or similar corridor usually doesn't turn around frequently. It'll keep going the same direction for long periods. Try to get ahead of it, and take your swing at it as it passes you.
QuestionI have found and caught several swallowtails. I keep them alive and feed them their necessary food and clean their little cage. But, the butterflies die in about two days. Why does this happen?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey need sun and like outdoors. Even if they are being fed the right food, they might be cold, and they need the sun's rays.Thanks!
QuestionWhat does a blue swallowtail butterfly look like?Book_DragonCommunity AnswerA blue mountain swallowtail will have wings that are rimmed with black, with a bottom wing that droops down into a long teardrop shape. Their blue is very bright and noticeable.Thanks!
- Learn how to recognize different species of swallowtails on the wing. This will help you avoid long chases that end in catching a swallowtail that's not the species you want. Pay attention to their flight action (flapping vs. gliding, etc.), their overall size and color, and pattern elements that can be seen even on flying butterflies.
- Don't swipe your net at a swallowtail if it's out of reach, or if you don't feel like you stand a good chance of actually catching it. The motion of a swinging net will usually spook the swallowtail. It'll start careering around like a crazy swallowtail and you probably won't get another chance to catch it. So swing your net only when it looks like your swing will succeed!
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