The black swallowtail is found in the tri-county area around Titusville, Pennsylvania and throughout Pennsylvania. In North America it is found east of the Rocky Mountains.
These butterflies select their host plants based on the odor they put out.
- Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)
- Common Rue (Ruta graveolens)
- Water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)
- Herbwilliam (Ptilimnium capillaceum)
- Canby’s cowbane (Tiedemannia canbyi)
- Phlox (Phlox sp.)
- Milkweed (Asclepias
- Clover (Trifolium sp.)
- Thistle (Cirsium sp.)
Range and Habitat
Black swallowtail butterflies are found in the tri-county region around Titusville, Pa, throughout Pennsylvania, and east of the Rocky Mountains.
These butterflies are found in open areas such as gardens, fields, dunes, farmland, meadows, open riverbanks, and seldom are located in woodlands.
The caterpillar grows to 2″ and varies from white to leaf green with black stripes and red or orange coloring. Two broods can be produced in a year depending on the location.
The adult butterflies grow to 7 to 9 cm in size and can have a wingspan of around 11 cm. The females of the species resemble the Pipevine Swallowtail in order to have protection from predators, since the Pipevine Swallowtail is poisonous to predators. This is called Batesian mimicry. It can have 2-3 broods a year, depending on the location.
Interesting Facts about Black Swallowtails
- This is the state butterfly of Oklahoma and New Jersey.
- The species name, polyxene, is for the youngest daughter of King Priam of Troy.
References and External Links
Monroe, James L. and David M. Wright. 2017. Butterflies of Pennsylvania. University of Pittsburgh Press. 304 pp.
Pyle, Robert Michael. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Butterflies. Chanticleer Press. 924 pp.
Papilio polyxenes. 2021-12-30. In Wikipedia.