Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), is species of swallowtail butterfly. It is found in the Eastern United States, as far north as southern Vermont, and as far west as extreme Eastern Colorado. It flies from spring through fall, and most of the year in the southern portions of its range, where it may produce two or three broods a year.

Adult males are yellow, with four black “tiger stripes” on each fore wing. The trailing edges of the fore and hind wings are black which is broken with yellow spots. On the medial margin of the hind wing next to the abdomen there are small red and blue spots. There are two morphs of adult females, a yellow and a dark one. The yellow morph is similar to the male, except that the hind wings have an area of blue between the black margin and the main yellow area. In the dark morph, most of the yellow areas are replaced with a dark gray. A shadow of the “tiger stripes” can still be seen on the dark females.

Female lays spherical green eggs on the top of leaves of host plants. After hatching, the caterpillars often eat the shell of their egg. The first instars are dark and mimic bird droppings. The larvae eat the leaves of a wide variety of trees and shrubs, including cottonwood, tulip tree, sweet bay, and cherry. Adults are strictly diurnal. It is the state butterfly of Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Delaware.