Bug of Week 17: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

One of over 550 species of Swallowtail butterfly, the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly is so named because of its eye catching yellow wings with black stripes and blue markings. Tiger Swallowtails also have two tails- one at the bottom of each wing. They may lose one to a predator, but they are still able to fly.

Please be gentle and respectful to all animals and insects.

Species Papilio glaucus

HABITAT (WHERE THEY LIVE): Tiger Swallowtails can be found in Eastern North America, and as far west as Colorado and Texas. They prefer woodlands, rivers, meadows, parks, and suburbs.

NUTRITION (WHAT THEY EAT):  Caterpillars are picky and usually only eat leaves from wild cherry and tulips. Adult butterflies eat nectar from plants such as wild cherry, lilac, milkweed, oregano, purple coneflower, zinnias, and butterfly bush.

PREDATORS (WHO EATS THEM): Hornets, hawks, flycatchers, woodpeckers, blackbirds, owls, squirrels, raccoons, and possums.

LIFE CYCLE: Eggs are laid on or close to a wild cherry or tulip tree. When the eggs hatch, caterpillars spend a few weeks eating and growing bigger. They then form a chrysalis, and emerge after a few weeks as a beautiful butterfly. This entire process takes around one month.