eastern tiger swallowtail

(Papilio glaucus)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

eastern tiger swallowtail


N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure


not listed




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


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


3½ to 5½ wingspan



This 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.


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.

Larval Food

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.

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.



Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 71.





Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)











No Rank:



No Rank:




Papilionoidea (butterflies)



Papilionidae (swallowtails)



Papilioninae (swallowtails)



Papilionini (fluted swallowtails)




eastern tiger swallowtail









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

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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



  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    


  eastern tiger swallowtail   eastern tiger swallowtail
  eastern tiger swallowtail    

Frontal View

  eastern tiger swallowtail    





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


  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Bill Keim
  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)  
  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  

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





Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly [Papilio glaucus]

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

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)

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

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2008

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




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