Papilio canadensis
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

Family: Papilionidae
Family Description:
Note: This species may be referred to as a subspecies of Papilio glaucus, the Tiger Swallowtail, by some authors.
Description:
Caterpillar: The caterpillar is green, enlarged in the front, and marked near the head with four yellow dots and two yellowish eyespots with bluish centers.
Adult: The butterfly is large (but small for a Swallowtail), with a wingspan of 2 1/2 to 3 1/4 inches, and tailed. The upperside is bright yellow and edged with a thick, black border marked with yellow dashes. The forewing is marked four broad, fairly parallel black bands. The hindwing is marked diagonally with a long and narrow black band, and is edged with black along the inside edge, next to the body. The rear of the hindwing is marked with two crescent-shaped blue spots, one of which edges an orange, similarly-shaped spot. The underside of the forewing is similar to the upperside, but the yellow dashes marking the black border are joined forming a continuous line. The underside of the hindwing is also similar to the upperside but is additionally clouded with orange. Note that a rare black form of female can occur.

Range:
This Swallowtail ranges from Alaska and the Yukon Territory south through British Columbia and east across Canada to the east coast. It extends into the extreme northern U.S. from northeastern Washington to central Michigan, and from northern New York into New England. It occurs in the panhandle of Idaho.

Habitat:
It can be found in and along deciduous and mixed forests.

Diet:

Caterpillar: Caterpillars feed on the leaves of several species of trees: birches (Betula spp.), aspen (Populus spp.), crabapple (Malus spp.), and black cherry (Prunus serotina.).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

Ecology:
Caterpillars construct small feeding structures from folded leaves tied and lined with silk. There is only one generation of caterpillars each year. Pupae overwinter in a physiological state called diapause, with the adults generally emerging to fly from May to mid-August. Males may often be observed puddling. This species may hybridize with Papilio rutulus, the Western Tiger Swallowtail, but such pairings are rare.

Reproduction:
Males actively patrol in search of receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on the leaves of host plants.

Conservation:
Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank:

G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.


References:
Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.   Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.