A Bee-Butterfly Battle Over a Zinnia

An Anise Swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon, settles on a red zinnia in a Vacaville pollinator garden and begins sipping the nectar.

A honey bee buzzes by.

Was she just passing through or did she want the same nectar?

The bee brushes the butterfly's wings. Okay! I'm leaving!

Score: Bee, 1; butterfly 0.

Anise Swallowtails, according to UC Davis emeritus professor Art Shapiro, "have several generations (late February or March-October) and breed very largely on Sweet Fennel (Anise), Foeniculum vulgare, and (in the first half of the season) Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum. Both of these are naturalized European weeds."

Shapiro, who retired this summer from the Department of Evolution and Ecology, has been monitoring the butterfly populations of Central California since 1972. He maintains a research site, Art's Butterfly World

The images below were captured with a Nikon D500 camera and a 200mm macro lens. Shutter speed: 1/2000 of a second, f-stop, 4; and ISO, 800.