Other Common Names
Almost any of the common names applied to caterpillars of Papilio polyxenes might also be applied to this species, since it has similar food preferences and the identical-appearing caterpillars are often found on the same plants in gardens, particularly near the Pacific Coast.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1852 by Hippolyte Lucas
as Papilio zelicaon
Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 1/2 inches (7 - 9 cm).(1)
Upper surface of hindwing has yellow-orange eyespot near tail with round black center that is not connected to hindwing margin. Anal cell of hindwing is primarily yellow.(1)
From British Columbia southeast to North Dakota, south to s. California, Arizona, New Mexico; Baja California; Mexico. A rare stray to central Nebraska and eastern North Dakota.(1)
Bare hills, mountains, gardens, fields, vacant lots, and roadsides.(1)
One flight from April-July.(1) in the north.
"Has 2 to 4 broods along Pacific Coast, flying from spring to fall, or all year in southern California." per Kaufman, Butterflies of North America.
Caterpillar hosts: Many species in the parsley family (Apiaceae), and some in the citrus family (Rutaceae).(1)
Adults visit many flowers, and often visit moist ground.
Males perch on hilltops and patrol for receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves and flowers. Young caterpillars eat leaves while older ones often eat flowers and young seeds. Chrysalids hibernate.(1)
shows two female forms, with more or less black, and one very black male, form nitra.