Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio glaucus)

Tiger Swallowtail Coloration

The Tiger Swallowtail is a beautiful, large butterfly, usually in the range of 3.5"-5.5", easily identified by its black "tiger stripes".

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are always yellow, while females may be yellow or black. Females have a splash of iridescent blue wash on their tales, while males do not. Similar to the Western Tiger Swallowtail.

The black form is called dimorphic coloration, which adds a level of protection by mimicking the distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail. These females often exhibit a shadow of the "tiger" stripes. Males prefer yellow females, but the black form of the female is less attractive to predators.

Characteristics of the Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtails are often seen flying high over deciduous woods, forests, and along nearby streams. They also inhabit residential gardens, parks, and orchards.

They are often seen enjoying a variety of flowers, and gathering in large numbers at mud puddling locations. Their life span is about two weeks.

The produce 2-3 broods a year in the deep South U.S. Its breeding range encompasses most of the United States and Canada.

Host and Nectar Plants

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail utilizes a large variety of host plants, mostly trees, such as cottonwood, ash, birch, wild black cherry, tulip tree, sweet bay (magnolia), and willow.

Favorite nectar plants include honeysuckle, milkweeds, azaleas, thistles and other urban flowers.

Male and Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies

A side-by-side comparison of the male and female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is shown below.

Comparison of the male and female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Photos of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies

Female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly near Tyler Texas

Female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, dark dimorphic color form (8/7/2014)
Female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, dark dimorphic color form

Male Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Purple Verbena
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly near Tyler Texas

Male Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Butterfly Bush
Male Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Butterfly Bush

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly near Tyler Texas

Female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly near Tyler Texas



Male Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly missing its left tail

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly missing one tail

Another male Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, missing its right tail (8/4/2014)
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly missing one tail

Morphed female Tiger Swallowtail showing multiple markings
Morphed Tiger Swallowtail
By D. Stamm

Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, along the California coast at Hearst Castle
Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, along the California coast