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Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Tiger Swallowtail
Habitat: Deciduous woodlands, forest edges, old fields, pastures, and urban parks Garden Abundance: Occasional to common Wingspan: 3.5 to 5.5in Larval Host Plants:Wild cherry (Prunus serotina), ash (Fraxinus spp.), sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana) and tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) Favorite Adult Nectar Sources: Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum), butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), thistles (Cirsium spp.) and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

One of the largest and most spectacular butterflies in the eastern U.S., the tiger swallowtail is equally at home in country meadows or city parks. Like most swallowtail butterflies, it is a strong and rapid flier, and it often glides between wing beats. The tiger swallowtail can frequently be seen soaring at treetop level. A common and conspicuous garden visitor, the tiger swallowtail is especially fond of red, pink and purple colored flowers.

he tiger swallowtail is sexually dimorphic. Males always have the typical yellow and black striped tiger-like color pattern, but some females are mostly black (called dark-form females), a color pattern that has evolved to mimic the toxic pipevine swallowtail.

Larvae of the tiger swallowtail feed on a wide variety of trees. The young caterpillars are brown and white and look like bird droppings. Mature caterpillars are bright green with rows of small blue spots down the sides and a pair of false eye-spots on the enlarged “shoulder” region. The eye-spots make the larva look like a small snake and help to scare away would-be predators.

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