Black Swallowtail ~ Papilio polyxenes (Fabricius, 1775)
Family: Parnassians and Swallowtails (Papilionidae)
Subfamily: Swallowtails (Papilioninae)
Identification: Upper surface of wings mostly black; on inner edge of hindwing is a black spot centered in larger orange spot. Male has yellow band near edge of wings; female has row of yellow spots. Female hindwing with iridescent blue band. In the Southwest, yellow forms predominate in the subspecies P. coloro.
Life history: Males perch and patrol for receptive females. Female lays eggs singly on leaves and flowers of the host, which are then eaten by hatching larvae. Hibernates as a chrysalis.
Flight: One-2 flights from April-October in northern regions of range; 3 flights in southern regions.
Wing span: 3 1/4 – 4 1/4 inches (8 – 11 cm).
Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of plants in the parsley family (Apiaceae) including Queen Anne’s Lace, carrot, celery and dill. Sometimes plants in the citrus family (Rutaceae) are preferred.
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including red clover, milkweed, and thistles.
Habitat: A variety of open areas including fields, suburbs, marshes, deserts, and roadsides.
Range: Most of the eastern U.S., north into Quebec, west into s. Saskatchewan, Colorado and se. California; south to n. South America. Subspecies coloro in desert Southwest.
Conservation: Not usually of concern.
NatureServe Global Status: G5 – Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: Maintain open fields in East.
Documented Records for Papilio polyxenes
Display alternate map range:
North AmericaAlabamaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMexicoMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming