eastern tiger swallowtail

(Papilio glaucus)

Conservation Status
eastern tiger swallowtail
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Eastern tiger swallowtail is a large, familiar, swallowtail butterfly. It has a wingspan of 3½ to 5½.

The upperside of the forewing is yellow with four black “tiger” stripes and a wide black border with small yellow spots.

The upperside hindwing is yellow with one black stripe that appears as a continuation of the innermost forewing stripe and a thin black border along the inner margin, next to the body. A wide black border on the outer margin is broken by a marginal band of 5 yellow, crescent-shaped spots and a submarginal band of 2 to 5 iridescent blue, crescent-shaped spots. The amount of blue in the submarginal band is variable. There is a bright orange spot on the inner margin at the rear of the hindwing, and a smaller bright orange spot at the beginning and end of the marginal band of yellow spots. The yellow band, just inside the wide black border of both wings, is continuous, not broken up by conspicuous black veins. The hindwings have “tails”.

The underside of the forewing is paler yellow with black stripes. There is a wide black border with a marginal band of disconnected yellow spots. The underside of the hindwing is yellow with a central black stripe. There is a wide black border with an marginal row of yellow-and-orange spots and an submarginal row of blue spots.

Females have two forms. The yellow form female is similar to the male but with much more blue scaling in the black border. The black form female has black forewings and blue-tinged black hindwings. The hindwings have more blue scaling. The blue on the wings is not iridescent. Black form females are common in the south, uncommon in Minnesota.

The caterpillar is green and smooth, with no spines or hairs. There are small eye-like spots on the third thoracic segment with a black and white pupil.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

3½ to 5½ wingspan

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) has 2 rows of yellow spots across both wings and a yellow subapical spot on the forewing.

Canadian tiger swallowtail (Papilio canadensis) is smaller and less yellow above. The black border along the inner margin of the wing is much wider. The marginal band of yellow spots on the underside of the forewing is continuous, not broken into spots. It is found in the northern half of the state.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Deciduous woods, woodland edges, river valleys, swamps, parks, suburbs.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two broods: late April to early July, and July through September.

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Males emerge in the spring shortly before the females. The congregate, often in large groups, at mud puddles where they replenish moisture and minerals lost during metamorphosis.

Individuals overwinter as a chrysalis.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Black cherry, chokecherry, American basswood), birch, ash, poplar, plains cottonwood, mountain ash, and willow.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar of black cherry, blazing star, ironweed, joe-pye weed, lilac, milkweed, orange hawkweed, phlox, red clover, thistle, and wild bergamot.

 
     
1/6/2020
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 30, 71.

 
  1/6/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Papilionoidea (butterflies [excluding skippers])  
 

Family

Papilionidae (swallowtails)  
 

Subfamily

Papilioninae (swallowtails)  
 

Tribe

Papilionini (fluted swallowtails)  
 

Genus

Papilio  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Chrysalis

The pupa (third) stage of a butterfly or moth during which the caterpillar metamorphoses into an adult. In moths, the pupa is enclosed in a silk cocoon. In butterflies, the pupa is naked but protected by a hardened outer shell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this insect.

 
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Bob G

 
 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Magenta Zinnia in White Bear Lake, MN (8-10-2021)

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Bobbi Johnson

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Joe Warhol

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Amy VanLoon

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Luciearl

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Theresa Kohn

 
 

My front yard garden guest

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Margot Avey

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Megan Bah

 
 

Spotted this butterfly enjoying my wave petunias on the balcony!

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

E. A. Junger

 
 

I found this butterfly in my garden this morning.

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Melissa Dunbar

 
 

… landed on my yellow zinnia yesterday August 15

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Julie and Chad Theisen

 
 

In our overgrown flower garden, hanging around green onion blooms

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

John Moore

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

JAL

 
 

feeding on a canadian thistle

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Wendy Maslowski

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Bradley

 
  Found it hanging out on a low branch of a hedge bush in my back yard, right in the middle of town.   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
        eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Leigh49

 
 

Here’s a gorgeous swallowtail butterfly!

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Bryan Hauschild

 
 

feeding on a canadian thistle

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Gardenworld Inc

 
  it was most interested in our Iiatris and allium but I photographed it on the sedum that wasn’t open yet. Its going on our Facebook page next week! Pretty cool to see!   eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
  ...a really nice shot of the Tiger Swallowtail enjoying our Joe Pye Weed that we have a lot of. The sun made his wings glow so nicely.   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
 

Spooky Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, September 2014.

After throwing away garden trimmings in our recycling trailer, found it crawling on the tar driveway, picked him up on a stick and put it back in our garden. Never seen one before or since. So glad I found it.

  eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Gerald Raley

 
  I have seen this type for the last week or so in Bloomington, MN.   eastern tiger swallowtail  

 

    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Linda

 
 

First siting, loves the cone flowers

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Tim Lindley

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Matt Anderson

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

natureLee

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Lisa

 
 

Found on driveway

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Wayne Rasmussen

 
 

Eastern tiger swallowtail on wild bergamot

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Lucy Senstad

 
 

Taken this morning near St. Wendel, MN.

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
 

Andrea Oxton

 
 

Loving the lilacs on a gorgeous June evening!

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Scott Boyle

 
 

Black Form Female

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
           
 

Yellow Form Female

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
 

Tom Baker

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Male

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
           
 

Yellow Form Female

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
           
 

Black Form Female

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
           
 

Underside

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail  
           
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
           
 

Frontal View

 
    eastern tiger swallowtail      
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)  
 
About

larva:
bugguide.net/node/view/491/bgimage

 
Papilio glaucus (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail)
Allen Chartier
  Papilio glaucus (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail)  
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly  
Tiger Swallowtail
Craig A. Mullenbach
  Tiger Swallowtail  
 
About

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. This guy flitted by while I was at my favorite spot today. I got about 50 shots, thanks to the nice multi-shot capabilities of my camera.

Here is more information: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_tiger_swallowtail

 
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this insect.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.
 
 

 

 
     
     
       
       
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly [Papilio glaucus]
BlackOwlOutdoors
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 17, 2013

While out on a day scout Krik wandered upon a bunch of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies frolicking next to a spring fed creek in south central Pennsylvania.

 
  Butterfly: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio Glaucus Linnaeus
west-island kev
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 9, 2009

June 24, 2009.

I was out walking in the countryside and spotted this butterfly on the side of the road, managed to capture a minute with my camcorder. It was spotted in southeastern Quebec, Canada about 20 miles from the border with New Hampshire.

 
  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilio glaucus)
colong7034
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 19, 2013

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) or maybe Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio appalachiensis) butterflies nectaring on Butterfly bush (Buddleia). Males are always yellow. Females may be black or yellow. The yellow females have more blue coloring on their hind wings than the males. Shot 8/18/13

 
  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio glaucus
Kevin Cavallin
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2008

I think is a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) hanging around a butterfly bush in Iowa

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Bob G
8/10/2021

Location: White Bear Lake, MN

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Magenta Zinnia in White Bear Lake, MN (8-10-2021)

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Joe Warhol
7/29/2021

Location: Buffalo MN

I have attached a picture of what I believe is a Spicebusch Swallowtail.

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  John Valo
7/29/2021

Spicebush swallowtail has marginal row of light blue spots on the hindwing, large ivory spots on the forewing, and an unbroken iridescent blue (female) or bluish-green (male) cloud on the hindwing. The black form of the female eastern tiger swallowtail has a marginal row of yellowish spots on the hindwing and small yellowish spots on the forewing, and up to five blue submarginal spots separated from the cloud by a distinct scalloped black line. The butterfly in your photo is a black form female eastern tiger swallowtail.

 
  Amy VanLoon
7/22/2021

Location: Red Wing, MN

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Jack McNiff
7/28/2021

Location: So Mpls, MN

Repeatedly fluttering in loose 4 to 5 ft circles around 7 to 8 ft off ground near tree

 
  Pam Hartmann
6/3/2021

Location: Fairmont, Minnesota

 

 
  Luciearl
5/28/2021

Location: Lake Shore, MN

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Margot Avey
8/20/2020

Location: Noerenberg Memorial Gardens - Three Rivers Park District, Crystal Bay, Lake Minnetonka MN

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Megan Bah
8/16/2020

Location: Hutchinson, MN

Spotted this butterfly enjoying my wave petunias on the balcony!

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  E. A. Junger
8/16/2020

Location: Anoka County - St. Cloud, MN

I found this butterfly in my garden this morning. I am wondering if it is a spicebrush swallowtail. What I have read about them is they are rare in Mn and if seen in Mn it is in the southern part. I live in St Cloud so the middle of the state.

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  John Valo
8/17/2020

Spicebush swallowtail has an uninterrupted "cloud" of blue or greenish-blue scales from the median area to the marginal area of the hindwing. Black form female eastern tiger swallowtail has a clearly defined row of blue spots in the marginal area and a blue "cloud" in the median area, with a jagged black line separating the two areas. This is a black form female eastern tiger swallowtail.

 
  Melissa Dunbar
8/15/2020

Location: Dakota County

…landed on my yellow zinnia yesterday August 15

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Julie and Chad Theisen
7/25/2020

Location: Anoka County - Ramsey, MN

In our overgrown flower garden, hanging around green onion blooms

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  David and Carol Jones
8/14/2020

Location: Golden Valley, MN

feeding on back yard impatiens.

  John Moore
8/9/2020

Location: Farmington, MN

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Wendy Maslowski
7/30/2020

Location: St. Paul, MN

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Bradley
7/30/2020

Location: Stearns County – St. Cloud, MN

Found it hanging out on a low branch of a hedge bush in my back yard, right in the middle of town.

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Leigh49
8/28/2019

Location: Alexandria, MN

Here’s a gorgeous swallowtail butterfly!

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Bryan Hauschild
8/12/2019

Location: Traverse County

feeding on a canadian thistle

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Gardenworld Inc
8/9/2019

Location: Cottage Grove MN, Washington County

it was most interested in our Iiatris and allium but I photographed it on the sedum that wasn’t open yet. Its going on our Facebook page next week! Pretty cool to see!

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Norm & Peg Dibble
7/15/2019

Location: Maple Grove, MN

...a really nice shot of the Tiger Swallowtail enjoying our Joe Pye Weed that we have a lot of. The sun made his wings glow so nicely.

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Beth
10/7/2018

I found, 2 weeks ago, 11 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars in my garden on the parsley.  I bought a large net enclosure for them thinking with the cold weather they would die due to their size.  They are now all in the chrysalis stage and I was wondered if I did the right thing by bringing them inside.

I read on your website they overwinter in the chrysalis stage.  Should I put them in the garage where it is cooler so they overwinter as opposed to the warmth of inside where they might open earlier with no warm weather outside to release them when ready? 
I appreciate any advice you can give so they can survive.  What is the temperature in which they can be released?

Thanks, Beth

 
  Gerald Raley
8/15/2018

Location: Bloomington, MN.

I have seen this type for the last week or so in Bloomington, MN.

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Linda
8/6/2018

Location: Grant County, MN

First siting, loves the cone flowers

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Tim Lindley
7/31/2018

Location: Alexandria

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Matt Anderson
7/22/2018

Location: Harmony MN

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  natureLee
7/16/2018

Location: Minneapolis

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Lisa
7/14/2018

Location: South St, Paul, MN

Found on driveway

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Randy L.
6/212018

Location:Beltrami, Mn

1st one i've seen in this area.

  Marcia Podratz
5/27/2018

Location: near shore of Wynne Lake, Biwabik, north St. Louis County

While kayaking, I came across about 30 of these together on a small sandy area near the lake shore. They were mostly sitting on the ground and flying short distances. I wonder if they had just hatched.

 
  Margot Avey
8/31/2017

Location: Lake Harriet Gardens, Minneapolis

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Theresa Kohn
8/13/2017

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

My front yard garden guest

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Kathryn
7/16/2017

Location: In my garden on an evergreen tree in Roseville, MN.

  Bryan m
7/10/2017

Location: lake phalen park during dragon festival

  Lisa F
6/10/2017

Location: Minneopa State Park

  Lucy Senstad
6/10/2017

Location: near St. Wendel, MN

I found this one in the grass this morning, running up and down blades of grass. A first sighting for me.

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Andrea Oxton
6/3/2017

Location: Beltrami County

Loving the lilacs on a gorgeous June evening!

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Wayne Rasmussen
7/19/2016

Location: Joy Park

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Norm & Peg Dibble
September 2014

Location: Maple Grove, MN

Spooky Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, September 2014. After throwing away garden trimmings in our recycling trailer, found it crawling on the tar driveway, picked him up on a stick and put it back in our garden. Never seen one before or since. So glad I found it.

eastern tiger swallowtail

 
  Les Phillips
8/6/2014

Location: Minneapolis, MN

about 9:00 a.m. I saw a pair feeding on Cone Flowers in my alley.

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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