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Black Swallowtail 
Latin Name: Papilio polyxenes
 
Genus: Papilio    Species: polyxenes 
Family
Latin Name: Papilionidae
Common Name: Swallowtails
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Family Members
 
SubFamily
Latin Name: Papilioninae
Common Name: Swallowtails
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SubFamily Members

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Comments:
The Black Swallowtail is one of our most commonly encountered garden butterflies. Its plump, green larvae, often referred to as parsley worms, feed on many cultivated herbs and may occasionally become minor nuisance pests. It is equally at home along farm roads or in rural meadows as suburban yards and urban parks. Males have a strong, rapid flight and frequently perch on low vegetation. Both sexes are exceedingly fond of flowers and readily stop to nectar. It is one of six eastern butterflies that mimic the toxic Pipevine Swallowtail to gain protection from predators.
   
Life Cycle:
Broods:
multiple generations, late February to November
Egg:
yellow, laid singly on host leaves
Larva:
green with black bands and yellow-orange spots
Host Plants:
wild and cultivated members of the Carrot Family including dill, fennel and parsley
   
Host Plants:
Host Plants:
wild and cultivated members of the Carrot Family including dill, fennel and parsley
   
Habitat:
Habitat:
old fields, roadsides, pastures, disturbed sites, suburban gardens, agricultural land
   
     
     
   
Wingspan:
Inches:
2.5 - 4.2
Centimeters:
6.4 - 10.7
   
Appearance:
Sexes:
dissimilar; female has reduced yellow postmedian band and increased blue hindwing scaling above
Compare:
Spicebush Swallowtail is larger, has green-blue spots and lacks black-centered hindwing eyespot. Pipevine Swallowtail is mostly black and lacks yellow marking.
   
     
     
Markings:
 

Above:

  • male is black with a broad, postmedian yellow band and a row of marginal yellow spots; female is mostly black with increased blue hindwing scaling and marginal yellow spots, the yellow postmedian band is reduced; both sexes have a red hindwing eyespot with a central black pupil, and a yellow-spotted abdomen  
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Below:

  • hindwing has orange-tinted yellow spot bands  
 
Florida Distribution:
Abundance:
occasional
   

 

     

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Map Legend: Resident (green) | Stray (Red)


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