Common Name:   Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Scientific Name:   Papilio glaucus


The Tiger Swallowtail is readily identifiable by the yellow wings, black "tiger" stripes, and lobed "swallow-tail" wings.  The eggs hatch into the larval (caterpillar) stage which feed on the foliage of wild cherry, birch, poplar, ash and tulip (yellow poplar) trees.


Potpourri:  Mimicry is the close resemblance of a species to another species or to an object (such as the Walking Stick). In the Lepidoptera Order, the orange and black Monarch and the Viceroy are the most widely known mimics.


The black Pipevine Swallowtail contains unpalatable aristolochic acid derived form the birthwort family that its larvae feed on.  Therefore, predators avoid black butterflies. Female Tiger Swallowtails have evolved such that some are black (photo) to take advantage of the protective coloration.  As the males preferentially mate with the yellow females, the reduced mortality of the black females more or less balances the population.


Four other butterflies use black mimicry:

Diana Fritillary

Black Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail

Red-spotted Purple


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