I found this beautiful creature in a less than beautiful, but quite serene and natural state in my driveway recently. She is an Orchard Swallowtail butterfly and i do not ever recall seeing a live one here where i have lived for over 40 years now. Google tells me they are an Eastern Coast inhabitant and i live 2,500 miles away on the West Coast of Aus. I can only assume she hitched a ride from someone to make it here?
She then seems to have completed her last act and reason for being – the emptying of her eggcase, attaching her soon-to-be-offspring on the underside of some random leaf – before settling down to await The End.
She has a wingspan of over 80 mm (>3 inches). The hemi-spherical object top centre of frame is one of her multi-faceted eyes, the other is out of view as her head is twisted, as are her legs across her chest. She is, in fact, lying on her back and from ‘top-side’ (as we normally see butterfly’s) she is almost all plain black with just 2 white curved bows and 2 white blobs on that side of her wings.
The detail on the underside though is truly awesome – and unique to her, even if her sisters look all but identical to any casual observer fortunate enough to get a close look at one.
Requiescat In Pace.