The Lower Rio Grande Valley is one of the best butterflying locations in the entire United States. Here are pictures of butterflies from that region, taken with a Nikon CoolPix 4500, nearly all using natural lighting. Click here for some of the psychotic butterfliers and other wildlife from the LRGV with whom I went butterflying.
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) -- Very common in the lower valley. These large butterflies rarely sat still while nectaring, hence here are a couple of less than satisfactory photos. Note that the yellow bands in the upper forewings from an "X" near the wingtips and the tail "spoons" are filled with yellow. The caterpillars are reminiscent of large bird droppings.
Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo Co., TX 17 Oct 2004
Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo Co., TX 15 Oct 2004
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), larva Loma Alta, Cameron Co., TX 14 Oct 2004
Ornythion Swallowtail (Papilio ornythion) -- This US rarity is similar to the Giant Swallowtail, but note that the yellow bands in the forewings do not form an "X". Also, note that the tails lack yellow.
male Chihuahua Woods RR tracks, Hidalgo Co., TX 18 Oct 04
Ruby-spotted Swallowtail (Papilio anchisiades) -- Another US rarity.
Chihuahua Woods RR tracks, Hidalgo Co., TX 17 Oct 2004