- The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is one of the most familiar butterflies in the American midwest. Common in forests and along streams , the tiger swallowtail is equally at home in urban gardens. It is an ardent flower fancier, and provides ample photo opportunities while nectaring.
- The "ground color" in the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is dark, hence the yellow markings are actually the "stripes" on a dark background, rather than dark stripes on yellow! In central North Carolina, about 50% of the females are "dark" type and about 50% are "yellow" type. Dark types are always females and males are always yellow. And females have more blue in the hindwing than the males. Got all that?
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in English:
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail
Common Names in German:
'The Papilionidae belong to the Superfamily
Papilionoidea, the true butterflies. Swallowtails are worldwide in distribution and comprise approximately 560 species. They are richest in the tropics, and their brilliant colors make them favorites of butterfly enthusiasts. Many swallowtail species, especially in the tropics, mimic
other butterflies that are distasteful, while others are distasteful and cause birds and other vertebrate
to regurgitate. Swallowtail adults
are medium to large and may or may not have tails, while parnassian adults are medium, tailless, and have translucent
. All adult parnassians and swallowtails have three pairs of walking legs
, and adults of all species visit flowers for nectar.
Swallowtails are members of the Family Papilionidae. They comprise about 560 species, have a worldwide distribution, and are richest in the tropics. Many are brilliantly colored and are favorites of butterfly enthusiasts. Many species, especially those in the tropics, mimic other butterflies that are distasteful, while others are distasteful and cause birds and other vertebrate predators to regurgitate. Adults are medium to large, may or may not have tails, and have three pairs of walking legs . Adults of all species visit flowers for nectar. Males of most species patrol for mates, while males of one group (Black, Old World, Anise, and Indra Swallowtails) perch on hilltops or ridges instead of patrolling . Swallowtails lay globular eggs and overwinter as pupae. Some species spend more than one year in the pupal stage, likely to survive drought years when little caterpillar food is available. In arid areas, the Black, Anise, and Indra Swallowtails often display this strategy.
Species Papilio glaucus
Male is yellow with dark tiger stripes . Female has 2 forms: one yellow like the male and the other black with shadows of dark stripes. Hindwing of both female forms has many iridescent blue scales and an orange marginal spot. On the underside of forewing of both female forms the row of marginal spots has merged into a continuous band . (ref. 105496)
Male is yellow with dark tiger
. Female has 2 forms: one yellow
like the male and the other black with shadows of dark stripes. Hindwing
of both female forms has many iridescent
and an orange
spot. On the underside of forewing
of both female forms
of marginal spots has merged into a continuous band
The black form female swallowtails look as if they are standard yellow and someone dusted them with black spray-paint. It is thought they are mimicking the distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail, and the presence of the black female form indicates the abundance of the species it mimics .
Wing span : 3 5/8 - 6 1/2 inches (9.2 - 16.5 cm).
clearings and edges
, open woodlands, gardens
Very widespread. Typically along edges of deciduous or mixed woods, old fields , and meadows, but also commonly seen in gardens and suburban habitats . Not usually seen in deep shade, but often found along openings in woods, wide trails , etc. (ref. 104717)
Deciduous broadleaf woods, forest edges, river valleys, parks, and suburbs. (ref. 105496)
Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of various plants
including wild cherry
(Prunus), sweetbay (Magnolia), basswood (Tilia), tulip tree
birch (Betula), ash (Fraxinus), cottonwood (Populus), mountain ash
(Sorbus), and willow (Salix). Adult
food: Nectar of flowers
from a variety of plants including wild cherry and lilac (Syringa
Many tree and shrub species, but apparently tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and black cherry (Prunus serotina) are commonly used. Nectar plants are very widespread, but the species prefers tall herbs such as Joe-pye-weeds (Eupatorium spp. ), ironweeds (Vernonia spp.), and milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). In fact, this is by far the most commonly seen butterfly nectaring on Joe-pye-weed. (ref. 104717)
Males patrol for receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on host leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves and rest on silken mats in shelters of curled leaves. Chrysalids overwinter . Large eggs are pale green, globular . Caterpillar starts out brown and white, mimics bird droppings. Mature caterpillar grows to 50mm (2"), is green with big orange and black eyespots at front. Chrysalis overwinters. host plants are mostly broadleaf trees such as cottonwood, willow, birch and ash, polar and cherry. One to three broods, depending on latitude .
Flight: 3 flights from February-November in Deep South; 2 flights
from May-September in north.
Flight period: Early March to early October (and exceptionally to November). At least two broods, and possibly three; the broods overlap, with no gaps . In the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, flight periods are apparently early March to late May, and early June to mid-September, with the "second" perhaps being composed of two broods. Mountain flights generally are from mid-March to mid- or late June, and late June into early October. (ref. 104717)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Latreille, 1829
- Snodgrass, 1938
- Heymons, 1901
- Order: Lepidoptera () - Linnaeus, 1758 - Butterflies and Moths
- Cohort: Myoglossata ()
- Infraclass: Pterygota ()
- Subclass: Dicondylia ()
- Epiclass: Hexapoda ()
- Superclass: Panhexapoda ()
- Infraphylum: Atelocerata () - Heymons, 1901
- Subphylum: Mandibulata () - Snodgrass, 1938
- Phylum: Arthropoda () - Latreille, 1829 - Arthropods
- Superphylum: Panarthropoda () - Cuvier
- Infrakingdom: Ecdysozoa () - A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Protostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Papilio alcidamas Cramer • Papilio alexiares Hopffer • Papilio antilochus Linnaeus • Papilio turnus Linnaeus
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: 18-Oct-2004
Western Tiger swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Two-tailed swallowtail.
Members of the genus Papilio
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 101 species and subspecies in this genus. Here are just 100 of them:
P. aegeus (Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly) · P. aegus (Citrus Swallowtail) · P. alexanor (Southern Swallowtail) · P. anchisiades (Ruby-Spotted Swallowtail) · P. andraemon (Bahaman Swallowtail) · P. androgeus (Androgeus Swallowtail) · P. antimachus (African Giant Swallowtail) · P. appalachiensis (Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail) · P. argiolus (Spring Azure) · P. aristodemus (Schaus' Swallowtail) · P. aristodemus ponceanus (Papilio Aristodemus) · P. aristor (Scarce Haitian Swallowtail) · P. astyalus (Broad-Banded Swallowtail) · P. bianor (Chinese Peacock) · P. brevicauda (Short-Tailed Swallowtail) · P. brevicauda bretonensis (Short-Tailed Swallowtail) · P. brevicauda brevicauda (Short-Tailed Swallowtail) · P. brevicauda gaspeensis (Short-Tailed Swallowtail) · P. caiguanabus (Poey's Black Swallowtail) · P. canadensis (Canadian Tiger Swallowtail) · P. chikae (Luzon Peacock Swallowtail) · P. cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail) · P. cyproeofila (Common White-Banded Swallowtail) · P. dardanus (African Swallowtail) · P. demodocus (Citrus Swallowtail) · P. demodocus demodocus (Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly) · P. demoleus (Common Lime Butterfly) · P. echerioides (White-Banded Swallowtail) · P. epycides (Lesser Mime) · P. eurymedon (Pale Swallowtail) · P. garamas abderus (Abderus Swallowtail) · P. garamus (Magnificent Swallowtail) · P. glaucus (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) · P. glaucus australis (Tiger Swallowtail) · P. glaucus canadensis (Canadian Tiger Swallowtail) · P. glaucus garcia (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) · P. glaucus glaucus (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) · P. glycerion (Chestnut Heath) · P. helenus (Red Helen) · P. hero (Scarce Heath Butterfly) · P. homerus (Homerus Swallowtail) · P. hospiton (Corsican Swallowtail) · P. hyppason (Hyppason Swallowtail) · P. indra (Indra Swallowtail) · P. indra calcicola (Indra Swallowtail) · P. indra fordi (Ford's Swallowtail) · P. indra kaibabensis (Grand Canyon Swallowtail) · P. indra martini (Martin's Swallowtail) · P. indra minori (Minor's Swallowtail) · P. indra panamintensis (Panamint Swallowtail) · P. indra pergamus (Edwards' Swallowtail) · P. indra phyllisae (Indra Swallowtail) · P. indra pygmaeus (Indra Swallowtail) · P. jasius (Two-Tailed Pasha) · P. joanae (Ozark Swallowtail) · P. jordani (Jordan's Swallowtail) · P. leucotaenia (Cream-Banded Swallowtail) · P. levana (Map Butterfly) · P. machaon (Old World Swallowtail) · P. machaonides (Machaonides Swallowtail) · P. machaon aliaska (Alaskan Old World Swallowtail) · P. machaon bairdii (Baird's Swallowtail) · P. machaon hudsonianus (Hudsonian Old World Swallowtail) · P. machaon oregonius (Oregon Swallowtail) · P. memnon (Great Mormon Butterfly) · P. memnon agenor (Great Mormon) · P. menatius (Menatius Swallowtail) · P. morondavana (Madagascan Emperor Swallowtail) · P. multicaudata (Two-Tailed Swallowtail) · P. multicaudata multicaudata (Two-Tailed Swallowtail) · P. multicaudatus (Two-Tailed Swallowtail) · P. nireus (Green-Banded Swallowtail) · P. ornythion (Ornythion Swallowtail) · P. palamedes (Palamedes Swallowtail) · P. palinurus (Emerald Swallowtail) · P. pamphilus (Small Heath Butterfly) · P. paris (Paris Peacock) · P. phorbanta (Papillon La Pature) · P. pilumnus (Three-Tailed Swallowtail) · P. polymnestor (Blue Mormon) · P. polytes (Common Mormon) · P. polyxenes (Black Swallowtail) · P. polyxenes asterius (Black Swallowtail) · P. polyxenes coloro (Desert Black Swallowtail) · P. polyxenes asterius f. pseudoamericus (Black Swallowtail) · P. rogeri (Pink-Spotted Swallowtail) · P. rogeri pharnaces (Pink-Spotted Swallowtail) · P. rubi (Green Hairstreak) · P. rumanzovia (Scarlet Mormon Swallowtail) · P. rutulus (Western Tiger Swallowtail) · P. sjoestedti (Kilimanjaro Swallowtail) · P. thersites (Thersites Swallowtail) · P. thoas (Thoas Swallowtail) · P. torquatus (Torquatus Swallowtail) · P. troilus (Coastal Spicebush Swallowtail) · P. ulysses (Ulysses Butterfly) · P. victorine (Victorine Swallowtail) · P. victorinus (Victorine Swallowtail) · P. xuthus (Xuthus Swallowtail) · P. zelicaon (Anise Swallowtail)
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- Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. London, The Society. url p. 379, p. 447, p. 463, p. 467, p. 467.
- Transactions of the Kentucky Academy of Science. [Lexington, Ky.]Kentucky Academy of Science, 1923-1997. url p. 128, p. 137.
- Zoology for high schools and colleges / New York: H. Holt and Company, 1895. url .
- Zoology: for students and general readers / New York: Henry Holt, 1879. url .
- Bisby, F.A., Y.R. Roskov, M.A. Ruggiero, T.M. Orrell, L.E. Paglinawan, P.W. Brewer, N. Bailly, J. van Hertum, eds (2007). Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2007 Annual Checklist. Species 2000: Reading, U.K.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed March 27, 2012.
- Butterflies of North Carolina
- GloBIS (GART)
- GloBIS (GART): Global Butterfly Information System. Release date: November 23, 2008
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Accessed December 07, 2007. http://www.gbif.org Mediated distribution data from 17 providers.
- LepIndex: The Global Lepidoptera Names Index
- Opler, Paul A., Kelly Lotts, and Thomas Naberhaus, coordinators. 2009. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Bozeman, MT: Big Sky Institute. http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/ (Version of April 17, 2009).
- Ruggiero M., Gordon D., Bailly N., Kirk P., Nicolson D. (2011). The Catalogue of Life Taxonomic Classification, Edition 2, Part A. In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., Ouvrard D., eds). DVD; Species 2000: Reading, UK.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal December 07, 2007:
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Alan Wormington Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Canadian National Collection
- of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Great Lakes Forestry Centre Insect Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Lyman Entomological Museum
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, McMaster University Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, New Brunswick Museum Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Halifax, NS, Canada
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Point Pelee National Park Collection, Canada
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Ross A. Layberry Observations
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Royal British Columbia Museum Entomology Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Royal Ontario Museum: Entomology
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Spencer Entomological Museum
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, University of Guelph, Department of Environmental Biology
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, University of Western Ontario Collection
- Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois Natural History Survey
- National Institute of Genetics, ROIS, Entomological Specimens of Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo Pref., Japan
- SysTax, Lobbecke Museum Dusseldorf
- SysTax, SysTax
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2631151
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Gar-340
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 4490920
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 188547
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: IILEP94180
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 16123
- http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/taxonomy?f=14&sci=Papilionidae&com=Parnassians and Swallowtails [back]