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Species Eurytides marcellus - Zebra Swallowtail - Hodges#4184

Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar - Eurytides marcellus Very small chrysalis - Eurytides marcellus Zebra Swallowtail - final instar larva - Eurytides marcellus - female Zebra Swallowtail - final instar larva - Eurytides marcellus - female Zebra Swallowtail - final instar  larva - Eurytides marcellus - female Zebra Swallowtail - final instar  larva - Eurytides marcellus - female Zebra Swallowtail - final instar pre-pupal larva - Eurytides marcellus - female Zebra Swallowtail Egg - Eurytides marcellus
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Papilionidae (Swallowtails, Parnassians)
Subfamily Papilioninae
Tribe Leptocircini (Kite Swallowtails, Swordtails, Jays)
Genus Eurytides (Kite Swallowtails)
Species marcellus (Zebra Swallowtail - Hodges#4184)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Pawpaw butterfly, Kite Swallowtail, (The) Ajax, Black-barred Swallowtail
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Eurytides marcellus (Cramer, 1777). A few synonyms:
Papilio ajax Linnaeus, 1758 (giving the alternate common name, "The Ajax")
Graphium marcellus (see below)
Members of Eurytides are sometimes listed under genus Graphium, whose other members are in the Old World.
Wingspan 6.4-10.4 cm
Distinctive large black-and-white swallowtail with long tails, unique in almost entire range. Summer flight is darker, form lecontei. (1).
Spring form   -->   summer form (darker):

Larva "ringed with narrow green, white, blue, yellow and/or black bands...Body widest at leading edge of A1 where body is ringed by tricolored band: blue-white towards thorax, followed by black...followed by yellow." Each abdominal segment also crossed by a yellow ring. (2) Another larval form occurs which is largely black. Young larvae may also be black. Stripes are less prominent in final instar but A1 stripe is still noticeable.
Common in Southeastern United States. Rare northward to northeastern, north-central United States, rarely to southern Ontario. Map shows typical range:
Partially wooded areas, usually moist.
Two flights, May-August in temperate areas. Flies March to December in subtropical Florida. (1)
Larvae feed on pawpaw.
Adults take nectar and (males only?) take fluids from damp sand.
Life Cycle
Eggs laid singly on host plant. Larvae feed on Pawpaw species, in most of range this is common Pawpaw, Asimina triloba. Illustration(s) of life-cycle:
This spectacular butterfly is the only regularly-occurring North American representative of the Neotropical genus Eurytides, or Kite Swallowtails.
Print References
Allen, p. 42, plate 1 (adult), 31 (larva), 44 (pupa) (3)
Brock, p. 24 (4)
Glassberg, p. 44, plate 1 (5)
Scott, pp. 162-163, color plate 4 (pupa), 7, figs. 48, 51, 52 (1)
Wagner, p. 92 (6)
Internet References
Zebra Swallowtail - Univ. Florida, IFAS Extension
Blue Ridge Discovery Center blog. Connections: The Pawpaw Tree and the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
Works Cited
1.The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide
James A. Scott. 1992. Stanford University Press.
2.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.
3.The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars
Thomas J. Allen. 1998. University of Pittsburgh Press.
4.Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides)
Jim P. Brock, Kenn Kaufman. 2003. Houghton Mifflin Co.
5.Butterflies Through Binoculars: The East
Jeffrey Glassberg. 1999. Oxford University Press.
6.Caterpillars of Eastern Forests
David L. Wagner, Valerie Giles, Richard C. Reardon, Michael L. McManus. 1998. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.