Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

by Yanni
Uploaded 9 Nov 2009 — 1 favorite
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© Yanni
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Photo Info
UploadedNovember 9, 2009
TakenJuly 31, 2009
MakeOlympus Imaging Corp.
ModelE-520
Exposure1/500 sec at f/9
Focal Length300 mm
ISO800
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The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is a large (12 cm wingspan) swallowtail butterfly. It is found in the Eastern United States, as far north as southern Vermont, and as far West as extreme Eastern Colorado. It flies from spring through fall, and most of the year in the southern portions of its range, where it may produce two or three broods a year. In the Appalachian region, it is replaced by the closely-related and only recently described larger-sized Papilio appalachiensis, and in the north, it is replaced by the closely-related Papilio canadensis. These three species can be very difficult to distinguish, and were formerly all considered to be a single species.

Adult males are yellow, with four black "tiger stripes" on each fore wing. The trailing edges of the fore and hind wings are black which is broken with yellow spots. On the medial margin of the hind wing next to the abdomen there are small red and blue spots.

There are two morphs of adult females, a yellow and a dark one. The yellow morph is similar to the male, except that the hind wings have an area of blue between the black margin and the main yellow area. In the dark morph, most of the yellow areas are replaced with a dark gray to a black. A shadow of the "tiger stripes" can still be seen on the dark females. The dark form is more common in the Southern portions of the range, especially in areas also inhabited by the poisonous Pipevine swallowtail, which it seems to mimic.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails often rest with their wings fully spread, particularly if the sun is out.

1 response

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield gave props (9 Nov 2009):

    I'm sure if I touched my monitor right now, I would be able to feel the soft texture of this swallowtail. A fabulous photo, Yanni!!

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