A September Tale

Once upon a time there was a very beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) butterfly flitting about John’s garden, flitting left, flitting right, enjoying the varieties of nectar that John had so lovingly provided for it. John loved to watch the Swallowtail and its cousins moving from flower to flower.

Eastern Tiger Swallottail 1

Little did the beautiful butterfly realize that nearby, just setting up a new web, was the dreaded, mean, and very, very hungry Writing Spider (Argiope aurantia).IMG_2194

The beastly spider had grown over the summer to three inches tip to tip by feeding on the ants and flies and mosquitoes and other delicacies in John’s garden. This was one big spider…and it was really hungry.

Alas, our beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, unaware of the danger that lurked in its path, made an illadvised flit when heading for the lantana and was caught in the web.

DSCN2702The author of this sad tale did not see the struggle of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail to extract itself from the web. For sure there was a massive struggle; this was a TIGER Swallowtail. Another alas. The web was just too strong for our beautiful butterfly.

The author also did not see the mean spider enjoying its lunch, but the next day he did see a bloated, happy Writing Spider resting on the edge of this very same web.

Argiope aurantia Writing Spider

And there was no longer an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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11 Responses to A September Tale

  1. Anna Barratt says:

    I wonder if the Swallowtail tasted like parsley.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnvic8 says:

    Are you considering creating a new taste sensation?


  3. Cathy says:

    Oh, isn’t nature brutal at times!


  4. Elizabeth says:

    Ugh – I don’t need to look in that old dictionary see spiders – ew ew ew


  5. Christina says:

    We are creatures that are swayed by beauty aren’t we John? The spider has as much right to live as the butterfly but we instinctively want the butterfly to escape. Conservation organisations have trouble raising money to save amphibians, which are decreasing in number very rapidly but can collect millions for a cuddly panda.


  6. Pauline says:

    Nature in the raw and the survival of the fittest !


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