Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes

Black Swallowtail

Papilio polyxenes

Above: Black, with twin rows of yellowish spots on each wing. These markings are best defined in the male. Below: two rows of orange spots, and a yellow/orange hindwing cell spot, just to the inside of the submarginal band (orange colored in the top photo, this spot may be yellow or whitish).

Open areas; fields, meadows and parks where its larval hosts are found.

Overwintering Strategy:   Chrysalis

Two broods; early May and then in late July/August with the adults flying throughout August. A third brood may occur in the southern counties (Ebner, 1970).

Caterpillar Host Plants:
Alexanders - Heart-leaved golden alexander (Zizia aptera), Golden alexander (Zizia aurea), Yellow pimpernel (Taenidia integerrima), Sweet cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii), Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) and Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea)

The Black Swallowtail is a common butterfly in Wisconsin. It commonly feeds on many different members of the Parsley family, including parsley, carrots, dill, and parsnip. It may also feed on Common Rue (Ruta graveolens), a domesticated herb.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

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