Papilio polyxenes (Black Swallowtail)

Papilio polyxenes, also called Black Swallowtail is a butterfly from Nearctic ecozone (North America). The first description was in 1775 by Fabricius. The wingspan is about 7 – 9 cm. Papilio polyxenes is a member of the family PAPILIONIDAE. The basic colour of this butterfly is black with yellow spots. The hind wings have short tails.



Photos for easy identification

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see some photos of Papilio polyxenes (Black Swallowtail). Papilio polyxenes is a member of the family PAPILIONIDAE from Nearctic ecozone (North America).


Description

The forewings are black. At the front edge there are two little, yellow spots. At the outer edge there are two chains of yellow spots.
The underside of Papilio polyxenes is very similar to the upside. But, the basic colour is dark brown.

The hind wings of Papilio polyxenes are black and they have short tails. The edge is wavy. A chain of blue spots and two chains of yellow spots dominat the wing. At the inner edge there is a red-black eye-spot.
The underside is very similar to the upside. But, the basic colour is dark brown.

The body (abdomen)
 is black and it has yellow spots. The thorax is black and it has yellow spots. The head is black and it has yellow spots. The underside of all parts is black.

Sex differences: None


Distribution

Papilio polyxenes is a butterfly from the Nearctic ecozone (North America). The area of ​​distribution of this butterfly stretches from USA to Peru.

This world map shows the ecozones in which this butterfly is distributed.

Larval food

Umbelliferae:

General information

The first description of this butterfly was in 1775 by Fabricius. There are seven subspecies.

The caterpillar is green with black strips and yellow spots. The flight-period of Papilio polyxenes is from April to October.

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see the subspecies Papilio polyxenes americus. The wingspan is about 8 - 9 cm.

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see the subspecies Papilio polyxenes asterius. The wingspan is about 7 - 10 cm.

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see the subspecies Papilio polyxenes stabilis. The wingspan is about 7 - 9 cm.

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see the variation Papilio polyxenes ampliata. The wingspan is about 9 - 10 cm.


Protection provisions / Red List

Similar and closely-related species

Papilio indra Reakirt 1866


Scientific name

Papilio polyxenes Fabricius 1775


Other names

 Black Swallowtail, Eastern Black Swallowtail, American Swallowtail


Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree

To the family tree (Genus: PAPILIO)...


 

To the top

Back to family Papilionidae from NEARCTIC (NORTH AMERICA)


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