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Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

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Papilionidae: the Swallowtails

Papilio Genus

The swallowtails are perhaps most familiar butterfly family, and have the largest members.  All of the butterflies below are members of the sub-family Papilioniinae ("true swallowtails").  The other Papilionidae sub-families are Parnassiinae (mainly found in western North America) and Baroniinae.

The Papilio genus, in fact, contains most of the most familiar butterflies on the East Coast of the US.  Here are some members:

Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)

Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes), Tyrrell County, NC.  Very fond of swamps. Palamedes Swallowtail, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/13/07

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Female Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), Fort Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 4/27/05 Black Swallowtail, Airlie Gardens, Wilmington, New Hanover County,  ovipositing (laying eggs). Black Swallowtail caterpillar, pre-chrysalis.  Photo rotated 90.

 © 2006 Mick Phillips

Black Swallowtail caterpillar, one of 38 that Randy and  Meg had raised.  North Durham, NC, 8/15/10

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

Spicebush Swallowtail, Durham, NC, 7/24/11 Female Spicebush Swallowtail, NC Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 7/17/09 Spicebush Swallowtail, Raulston Arboretum, 8/19/03.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

See also Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham, NC, 8/8/10. Also see the two forms of female Eastern Tiger Swallowtails. Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Faded female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 3/8/06 Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, NC Botanical Garden, 8/17/06.  Surprising brownish color! Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.  The male companion of the butterfly on the right. Puddling female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Duke Forest, Durham County, NC, 4/6/06.  These two butterflies were puddling and slowly circled when I got close.


Eastern Tiger Swallowtails puddling at Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road, Orange County, NC, 4/4/07.


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar, Indian Creek Trail, Jordan Lake, Chatham County, NC, 9/3/06.  To judge from the threads on either side, it may be about to become a chrysalis. Same Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar

Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio appalachiensis)

Puddling Appalachian Tiger Swallowtails, Boone, Watauga County,  NC, 8/29/05 Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail, Mount Mitchell State Park, NC, 7/9/05.  Ventral side.  Note big, wide hind wings with narrower blue margins.  This butterfly has missing tails. Female Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail, Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/9/06 Male Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail, Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/9/06


Female Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 8/8/06

Other Genera (Battus, Eurytides)

Swallowtails from these two genera are much less common and widespread.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 6/25/11 Female Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), Durham, 8/4/04 Pipevine Swallowtail (ventral view), Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/4/08 Male Pipevine Swallowtail (dorsal view), Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/4/08 Faded male Pipevine Swallowtail, Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, NC, 8/28/10


Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus), Durham, 8/9/04 Zebra Swallowtail, ventral view, Durham, 7/5/05. Dorsal view of same butterfly. NC Arboretum, Asheville, 7/8/05

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© Copyright 2005 Dorothy E. Pugh