As in most states, Alabama has many symbols; B. a state flower – the camellia – and a bird – yellow hammer. But did you know that our state also honors several insects? Yes, and that includes the official state mascot, a beautiful yellow and black butterfly.
But many people don’t even realize that Alabama has a mascot. So how did Alabama come to have a butterfly as a symbol?
In 1989, Alabama Legislature passed Law 89-676, making the eastern tiger’s swallowtail its official mascot.
The move was made at the behest of Selma City officials, who named the city the butterfly capital of Alabama in 1982. To celebrate this award, Selma erected dozens of butterfly sculptures around town, painted by various artists, and recently added a colorful butterfly mural.
The swallowtail of the east tiger
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is one of the most common butterflies east of the Mississippi, Stephen Buchmann said in an article for the US Forest Service.
He says that their “broad yellow wings are black and bordered with four stripes, like tapering angles from the front edges down into the yellow wings. The lower edges of the hind wings are particularly colorful with bluish scales and one or more red spots. “
But despite their bright colors and size – with a wingspan of up to 5.5 inches – these butterflies may be more difficult to spot because they’re lonely and like to “fly high in the treetops,” Buchmann said.
Other state insects
Alabama law has also recognized two other insects as state symbols.
The official state insect is the monarch butterfly. It was also referred to in Act 89-935 in 1989. The orange and black butterflies can be found in every county in the state, according to the Alabama Butterfly Atlas.
The state agricultural insect is the queen honey bee. The designation took place in 2015 at the request of the Alabama Farmers Federation. The law should draw attention to the importance of honeybees in pollinating crops. Alfafarmers.org lists more interesting facts about honeybees on its website here.