Eastern Black Swallowtail

Papilio polyxenes asterius


Photographs by Susan Snyder





Dill was planted on February 5th, 2009 in Garden 4 to attract Eastern Black Swallowtails. Females should arrive any day to lay their eggs on these plants.

Once the yellow, singly laid eggs hatch, the caterpillars will begin eating. Parsley, dill, and fennel are its favorite foods; and, in fact, these caterpillars are known as "parsley caterpillars."

Usually these caterpillars are green with black bands and yellow-orange spots, but coloration can vary, as shown by the caterpillar pictures here.

The caterpillars will eat, grow, molt, and finally pupate. As with all butterflies, the individual will be in its chrysalis (pupa) stage approximately two weeks. At the end of that time, the exoskeleton will crack and the adult will emerge.

As with all adult swallowtails, each hind wing has a "tail."

Male and female Eastern Black Swallowtails have somewhat different coloration. The male is black with a wide yellow band and a row of yellow spots on each of its wings, and some blue scaling on its hind wings. The female is almost all black, with increased blue scaling on its hind wings. Both sexes have a red eyespot with a black center pupil on their hind wings. Both sexes have black abdomens with yellow spots.

As yet, no eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises, or adults have been photographed in the present gardens. However, adults have been seen. The photographs of the caterpillars on this page were taken in 2004 in a garden near the Conservancy grass overflow parking area.



Index to Butterfly and Moth Visitors to the Conservancy Ecotone Trail

Index To Photographs of Plants in the Gardens

Plant Lists by Garden

Conservancy of Southwest Florida Ecotone Home Page

Conservancy of Southwest Florida Home Page.

Please report errors to Susan Snyder at susanleachsnyder@gmail.com