Zebra Swallowtail

Eurytides marcellus (Cramer)


Photographs by Susan Leach Snyder


Another common name for the Zebra Swallowtail is the Pawpaw Butterfly because pawpaws are the host plants for the larval stage.



Eggs of this butterfly are pale green and laid singly by the female on tender young pawpaw leaves and stems.









Young larvae are dark colored with bands of black, yellow, and white. At left is a caterpillar 12 days after hatching from its egg.





Shown below, as the caterpillar ages, the body becomes lighter in color with beige, white, yellow, and black bands. This caterpillar hatched from its egg 26 days ago.




As shown at left, twenty-eight days after hatching, some of the caterpillar's color bands thicken. Note the thick beige bands.








Below: at 29 days, the caterpillar is becoming more green in color.

On the 30th day it begins pupating. Photographs below show a caterpillar that has climbed a glass terrarium and spun silk to attach itself to the glass.


The pupa of a zebra swallowtail may be green or brown (as show at left on day 31) with light lines that make it look leaf-like. It is supported by a silk girdle.

After it ecloses (emerges) from its chrysalis, the adult zebra swallowtail is attracted to the nectar of a variety of flowers.

Zebra swallowtail butterflies display seasonal dimorphism. Early spring adults are lighter in color, smaller, and have tails about half as long as the summer adults.

To date, no zebra swallowtail butterflies in any stage of development have been seen in the gardens, but pawpaws are growing near the gardens to attract them. The photographs on this page were taken of a caterpillar raised in an aquarium in Columbus, Ohio.







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