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Spicebush or Black Swallowtail? - Papilio troilus

Spicebush or Black Swallowtail? - Papilio troilus
Nellysford, Nelson County, Virginia, USA

I am much more a photographer than an expert on butterflies, and just became aware of the Spicebush variety. I have been calling all the ones that I have photographed locally Black Sallowtails. After looking at the various photos and info on this site, I am still confused. Some of the photos on my web site

look like Spicebush, but also look like some of the Black Swallowtail photos I see on I have often seen Black Swallowtail caterpillars here, but have never seen a Spicebush caterpillar. I would appreciate any opinions on the five photos in question I have on my web site as to which of these two species they are.


Moved from ID Request.


Not the same
These are not the same species. See the comment below regarding the "missing" orange spot, among other features that separate Black from Spicebush.

Spicebush vs. Black
A good way to tell the Spicebush Swallowtail from the Black Swallowtail is to look for the "missing" orange spot in the middle row of spots on the underside of the hindwing. This picture clearly shows that feature--look at the third "slot" from the left.

For more information, see here.

this is a black swallowtail butterfly. Very beautiful flower though!

Aaron is correct...starting a
Aaron is correct...starting at the top, left to right.
Black Female Morph of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a Pipevine mimic.

Unless you are around a Spicebush you are not likely to find one. Of course the host plants for the Black Swallowtails are commonly found in gardens and closer to people.

The five dark swallowtails on your website are:
1. Black
2. Tiger -- dark female
3. Spicebush
4. Spicebush
5. Tiger -- dark female

Thanks for your help
Thanks to all for your help. I have a hard enough time IDing birds - bugs are much tougher!

Swallowtail or Spicebush Swallowtail?
Absolutely stunning photograph of the gorgeous butterfly and the lovely flower :)

nice lily!

Lily in swallowtail pic
That's Turk's-cap Lily, right?

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