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Blue-Banded Swallowtail Butterfly

Blue banded swallowtail butterfly on flower Blue-banded Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio nireus) feeding on nectar from a Cape Leadwort flower, Curry's Post, KZN, South Africa. © Scotch Macaskill

Camera Gear: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Focal length: 400mm; Aperture: f/5.6; Shutter speed: 1/1250; ISO: 400

The blue-banded swallowtail, a member of the Papilionidae family, is a large, eye-catching butterfly with metallic blue bands on the upper side of its wings, as in the photo above.

The body of the swallowtail (something of a misnomer as many don’t have tails on their hind wings) is small and light in relation to the size of the wings.

When feeding from the nectar of flowers, the swallowtail flits from bloom to bloom, its legs just touching the flower while its rapidly vibrating wings maintain balance. This presents an interesting photographic challenge, specially when using a macro lens. I opted instead for a telephoto lens and a fast shutter speed — see Photographing Swallowtail Butterfly for more on this.

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Contact Details: Scotch Macaskill, Dirt Road Traders, Currys Post Road, Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0)82 578 2329. Privacy: Your privacy is guaranteed. See our Privacy Policy for more. This site accepts advertising and other forms of compensation - see Disclosure and Advertising for details. Site updated: November 2016. Copyright © 2002 - 2016 Scotch Macaskill