This species ranges from southern British Columbia and Alberta south through the western third of the U.S. to southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico; it ranges east as far as western South Dakota and central Colorado. It occurs throughout all of Idaho.
This Swallowtail utilizes a variety of habitats, including canyonlands, sagebrush steppe, woodlands, and gardens.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of several species of trees and shrubs: cottonwoods,
poplars, and aspen (Populus spp.), willows (Salix spp.), alders
(Alnus spp.), cherry (Prunus spp.), and ash (Fraxinus spp.).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.
Caterpillars construct small feeding structures from folded leaves tied and lined with silk. There is only one generation of caterpillars each year in those parts of its range with shorter summers, while there may be up to three generations where conditions are more favorable. Adults generally fly from June through July in most of its range, but from February to November along the coast of the Pacific and throughout the year in southern California. While this is the primary Swallowtail of the west, it has an eastern counterpart, Papilio glaucus, which occurs throughout Canada and the eastern half of the U.S. as far as central Montana, eastern Wyoming and Colorado, and central Texas. Papilio glaucus has recently been documented in Idaho, in Latah and Clearwater Counties. The two species may hybridize where they meet.
Males actively patrol in search of receptive females. Females lay shiny green eggs singly on the leaves of host plants.
|Idaho Status:||Unprotected nongame species.|
G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.
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.