Saturday, August 01, 2015

Old World Swallowtail

(c) Oliver Lloyd
(c) Oliver Lloyd
I couldn't resist blogging these amazing photos sent from Parthenay in France by a friend who is mastering the art of digital photography. These stunning images are produced using a technique known as focus stacking, something way beyond my understanding.
This is the caterpillar of the Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio machaon, and is likely to be the subspecies gorganus
There are in fact 37 recognised subspecies around the world! The one endemic to the UK is P. machaon ssp britannicus which is now confined to a few fens in East Anglia. You can see the imago here. This one is on fennel.
Machaon was the son of Asclepius, son of Apollo and god of medicine. He appears in the Iliad where he is wounded by Paris and put out of action, however he continues to cure others with herbs and surgery.

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