Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

From Ohio History Central
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.jpg

The males of the tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilla glaucus) are easy to identify. They are large and yellow with black tiger stripes. Females come in two different color forms. One is similar to the males, the other is a dark color with hints of darker stripes. Females of both color forms have blue scales and an orange marginal spot on its hindwings. Adult wingspans vary from three and five-eighths to six and a half inches.

Female swallowtails will lay eggs, one at a time, on the leaves of host plants. Host plants include wild cherry, basswood, sweetbay magnolia, tuliptree, birch, ash, cottonwood and willow. The caterpillars feed off of the leaves and make nests of silk inside curled leaves. The chrysalis of the tiger swallowtail hibernate. At the completion of the metamorphic process, adults emerge and begin to feed on flower nectar from a variety of plants including cherry and lilac.

Found typically in deciduous woods, forest edges, river valleys, parks and suburbs, eastern tiger swallowtails are found throughout Ohio. They are beneficial to humans and plants because they assist with the pollinating of orchards and gardens.

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