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Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Description: This the only widespread black swallowtail in the Maritimes. Wingspan: 52 to 94 mm. It can be confused in coastal areas with the Short-tailed Swallowtail. See differences below.

Black Swallowtail Short-tailed Swallowtail
Tail Long, spatulate Short, pointed
Forewing edge Slightly concave Slightly convex
Yellow band on hindwing Strailght (yellow in cell) Curved
Habitat Widespread Coastal

Maritime Distribution: Throughout the Maritimes. For Atlas results click here.

Provincial Ranks: NB: S4. NS: S4. PEI: S3.

Flight Period: Double brooded, early May to late June, mid July to early September.

Host Plant: A wide variety of members of the carrot family (Apiaceae).

Notes: Black Swallowtail is much more common and widespread than Short-tailed Swallowtail. It can be found in a variety of open habitats, particularly meadows with an abundance of Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) and agricultural areas. The large, green caterpillars have conspicuous yellow-spotted bands, and can be found in vegetable gardens feeding on carrots, parsley, and dill.