Tiger Swallowtail

I actually saw a butterfly today. It’s the first in 4 days. Their number’s have been the lowest I ever remember seeing, and I contribute it to the Arctic winter.


The eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is usually a common butterfly here in southern Illinois.


Their caterpillar host trees include: wild cherry, tulip tree, poplar, ash, cottonwood and willow.


They have 2 broods in our area, and 3 in the southern states.


They overwinter as a chrysalis,


and begin flying early in March.


This partially grown caterpillar was in a wild cherry tree  in the yard last summer.


A fully-grown one was nearby in the same tree. Its brown color shows that it’d emptied its digestive system and was preparing to form a chrysalis.


Female tiger swallowtails also have a dark form.


It’s thought to mimic the pipevine swallowtail.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Nice photos! Suddenly, there are butterflies in my garden too, today. It hasn’t been particularly warm yet this summer, though, so maybe they are just slow to develop.


  2. You got some excellent photos of them. We have a lot of giant swallowtails here and I finally saw two or three monarchs today, but of course they wouldn’t hold still for a photo.


    • Thanks. I wish we had a lot of giant swallowtails. During a good butterfly season, a few might fly through the yard with a stop for nectaring. They use hop tree and prickly ash for host plants.


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