Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Papilio glaucus


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Authors: Linnaeus

Egg: Laid singly on young hostplant leaf.

Duration: 10-15 days, or through the winter.

Caterpillar: Young larva resembles bird dropping: brown with white dorsal patch. Mature larva green with yellow and black eyespots on swollen thorax, and yellow dorsal band behind eyespots. Three rows of blue spots along rest of body. Head reddish brown. Rests on sheet of silk strung across upper leaf surface. Solitary feeder on hostplant leaves. Up to 2" (51 mm) long.

Chrysalis: Mottled brown to gray, darker dorsally on abdomen. Two short horns on head, and dorsal ridge on thorax. Up to 1 1/4" (32 mm) long.

Adult: Wingspan up to 5 1/2" (139 mm). Wings above yellow with black stripes, and wide black margin; hindwing with iridescent blue patches (females with more blue), orange spot inside margin. Wings similar below, but paler. Some females are black to dark gray, instead of yellow. Spring adults are often smaller and darker than summer adults, and can be difficult to separate from the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail.

Habitats: Open areas, roadsides, woodland edges, gardens.

Flight Times: Two often overlapping generations, late April to late September.

Overwintering Stage: Chrysalis.

Status in CT: Resident. Widespread, common. S5.

Comments: The Tiger Swallowtail is one of Connecticut's most widely distributed and familiar butterflies. Dark females occur, which are thought to be Batesian mimics of the unpalatable Pipevine Swallowtail. The first New England records of dark females were from Greenwich and Stamford (Morse 1892, Soule 1894), and Victor DeMasi (pers. comm.) reports dark females regularly in modest numbers in southwestern Connecticut. The dark females become steadily more common farther south in the USA. Male Tiger Swallowtails can often be found "puddling" on damp earth: they obtain dissolved salts from the mud, which they then give as provisions to a female during mating. The Tiger Swallowtail shows no apparent change in geographic distribution between pre-project and project periods.

Hostplants: Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)*, Pin Cherry (Prunus pennsylvanica)*, Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)*, Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)*, Magnolia (Magnolia sp.)*, cherries (Prunus spp.), and ashes (Fraxinus spp.).

 

Locations Observed:

 

Users who have observed this butterfly:
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