Tiger Swallowtail

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC

Tiger Swallowtail butterflies (2.5-3.5 in wingspan) are one of North America's most familiar butterflies. They have yellow wings with a black border and wide black stripes. They can be found in open woodlands or tundra areas with stunted trees from central Alaska east across Canada and the Great Lakes to northern New England.

The mature caterpillars are dark green with two spots that look like eyes. They eat the leaves of Willow, Cherry, Balsam Poplar, Cottonwood, Aspen, and Ash. The butterflies eat flower nectar.

In different areas you will find the Canadian, Eastern, and Western Tiger Swallowtails as well as Two-tailed and Pale Swallowtails. They are similar in appearance and behavior with some minor differences.

Did you know? Tiger Swallowtails are avid mud puddlers (as are Clouded Sulphurs), often gathering in large groups around mud puddles and jostling each other for position. Scientists believe they are after the salt.

See Also: Admiral Butterfly, Azure Butterfly, Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillar, Cabbage White, Clouded Sulphur, Compton Tortoiseshell, Great Spangled Fritillary, Hawk Moth, Monarch Butterfly, Mourning Cloak, Painted Lady, Tent Caterpillar