Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Papilio glaucus Linnaeus
, 1758. Synonyms and taxonomic notes:
Pterourus glaucus--sometimes this and related species are split out from Papilio.
Large, spring-flying populations in the Appalachians have recently been recognized as a separate species, Papilio appalachiensis (Pterourus appalachiensis).
Adult wingspan about 120 mm, females larger than males. (Butterflies and Moths of North America
gives wingspan range of 92-165 mm.)
Very large, bright yellow with black stripes. Males (A) are yellow and black above. Light phase females show blue on hindwing above (B). A dark phase (C) occurs in females through much of range, especially in southern states. The stripes are still faintly visible from some angles(D). The black females may be distinguished from other swallowtails from below, by the absence of the band of orange spots on the hind wing seen on Black and Spicebush Swallowtails, and lack of iridescent blue of Pipevine Swallowtails.
Early instar caterpillars resemble bird droppings. They sit on top of the leaf, unlike the similar Spicebush Swallowtail's larvae. Later instar caterpillars are green with two large eyespots on the thorax. Nothing in the East is similar, but Western Tiger and Pale Tiger Swallowtails are similar larvae found on the west coast. When the caterpillar is full grown and getting ready to pupate it turns brown.
Found around woodland edges, swamps.
Caterpillars feed on Sweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana), Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), Swamp Bay(Persea palustris) and Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera). Adults take nectar from a variety of flowers.