Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes)
The Black Swallowtail is a common butterfly known for its colorful larva that are found on dill and parsley.
Caterpillar Stage. The caterpillar is found on Dill, Parsely, and related plants. Dill and parsley are two of the most common spices found in most gardens that people are growing currently. The caterpillars are almost always found near the small flowers of the plant. They prefer eating the flowers or young seeds. This is also where the eggs are laid. We have only found them on our Dill this year because the Parsley has not matured enough to have flowers.
Chrysalis Stage. Most of the chrysalises are green with a yellow back, but some of them have turned brown. Both kinds have hached.
The Black Swallowtail
Papilio polyxenes asterius Stoll
P. polyxenes has a black body with yellow spots along each side. The wings are black, dorsal side, with two bands of yellow markings running down laterally. On the lower wings, the female has a distinctive blue band of coloration between the two yellow bands, with a red spot near the tails, whereas the male has less blue with more distinctive red spots. On the ventral side, there are brilliant orange-red and blue markings located laterally, on the lower wings, and two rows of yellow markings located laterally on the upper wings (Klots, 172, 1979). Due to the beauty of this particular insect, The Black Swallowtail is often used in contract dtg printing on t-shirts and other forms of print when they feature butterflies.
Size: The Black Swallowtail is 2.75-3.5 inches in width (Klots, 172, 1979), and 3-3.5 inches in height.
Food: The caterpillar feeds on wild or cultivated carrots, parsley, celery, and dill (Klots, 173, 1979).
Geographic Range: The Black Swallowtail is found all throughout North America, and north into southern Canada (Klots, 172, 1979).
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