black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Parnassians and Swallowtails (Papilionidae)
SUBFAMILY: Swallowtails (Papilioninae)
IDENTIFICATION: Upper surface of wings mostly black; on inner
edge of hindwing is a black spot centered in larger orange spot. Male
has yellow band near edge of wings; female has row of yellow spots.
Female hind- wing with iridescent blue band. In the Southwest, yellow
forms predominate in the subspecies Papilio coloro.
LIFE HISTORY: Males perch and patrol for receptive females. Female
lays eggs singly on leaves and flowers of the host, which are then eaten by
hatching larvae. Hibernates as a chrysalis.
FLIGHT: One-2 flights from April-October in northern regions of range;
3 flights in southern regions.
WING SPAN: 3 1/4 - 4 1/4 inches (8 - 11 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Leaves of plants in the parsley family (Api-
aceae) including Queen Anne's Lace, carrot, celery and dill. Sometimes
plants in the citrus family (Rutaceae) are preferred.
ADULT FOOD: Nectar from flowers including red clover, milkweed, and
HABITAT: A variety of open areas including fields, suburbs, marshes,
deserts, and roadsides.
RANGE: Most of the eastern U.S., north into Quebec, west into s.
Saskatchewan, Colorado and se. California; south to n. South America.
Subspecies coloro in desert Southwest.
CONSERVATION: Not usually of concern.
NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure glob-
ally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
MANAGEMENT NEEDS: Maintain open fields in East.
SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:
Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from
year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more
categories and may vary even during a single season.
Key to Checklist
A Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
C Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
U Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
usually in low numbers.
O Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
in low numbers.
R Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.
Crooked Run Valley