The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is a species of swallowtail butterfly native to North America. It is one of the most familiar butterflies in the eastern United States, where it is common in many different habitats. It flies from spring to fall, during which it produces two to three broods. Adults feed on the nectar of many species of flowers, mostly from those of the Apocynaceae, Asteraceae, and Fabaceae families. P. glaucus has a wingspan measuring 7.9 to 14 centimeters (3 to 5.5 in). The male is yellow with four black “tiger stripes” on each fore wing. Females may be either yellow or black, making them dimorphic. The yellow morph is similar to the male, while the dark morph is almost completely black.
The green eggs are laid singly on plants of the Magnoliaceae and Rosaceae families. Young caterpillars are brown and white; older ones are green with two black, yellow, and blue eyespots on the thorax. The caterpillar will turn brown prior to pupating. It will reach a length of 5.5 centimeters (2.2 in). The chrysalis varies from a whitish color to dark brown. Hibernation occurs in this stage in locations with cold winter months.
Did you Know:
The Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucas) is a strong flier with distinctive yellow and black striped markings on its wings and body. This relatively common butterfly has a wingspan of 3.5-6.5 inches (9-16.5 cm). Southern subspecies are larger than the northern ones. These butterflies are called swallowtails because they have long “tails” on their hindwings which look a bit like the long, pointed tails of swallows (a type of bird).