Butterflies - Tiger Swallowtail
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly in Louisiana
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the largest, and I think the most beautiful, of our southern Swallowtails. Adults are yellow with black tiger stripes. This butterfly is common along streams and in forests. It also visits gardens readily.
Males can be seen "puddling" around mud holes or the edges of streams.
These butterflies will fly high in the air. They fly from spring to fall. Where we live, in the deep south, we seem them all through the year, except when we have freezing weather.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail inhabits Louisiana. There is also a western Tiger Swallowtail, that is marked a little differently than the Eastern.
This page has information about and pictures of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and its larval food and nectar plants. I hope this page will help anyone who enjoys gardening and would like to attract Tiger Swallowtails and other butterflies to their yard.
Yellow Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Female Tiger Swallowtails
Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtails
Female Tiger Swallowtail butterflies have more blue on their hind wings than their male counterparts.
They also come in 2 colors, the regular yellow and a dark brown, almost black phase. It is thought that the dark phase is a protective adaptation that mimics the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail. The dark phase is more common in the south, where we ,and in areas that have populations of Pipevine Swallowtails, which we do.
Tulip Tree is a Larval Food Plant
Some Other Larval Plants
Tiger Swallowtail Larval Plants
Many of the larval food plants of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail are native trees. The list includes:
- Tuliptree, Liriodendron tulipifera
- Wild Cherries, Prunus spp.
- Willows, Salix spp.
- Birches, Betula spp.
- Ashes, Fraxinus spp.
- Cottonwood, Populus spp.
- Sweet Bay Magnolia, Magnolia virginiana
Caterpillars first look like bird droppings, but as they grow, they turn green and develop large eyespots and a fearsome large head end, which helps protect them from predators.
Tiger Swallowtail on Mexican Sunflower
Some Favorite Nectar Plant Photos
Favorite Nectar Plants
There are many nectar plants that Tiger Swallowtails and other butterflies use. Here is a list of some Eastern Swallowtail favorites.
- Azaleas, Rhododendron spp.
- Bottlebrush, Callistemon spp.
- Butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa
- Butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii
- Button Bush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
- Pickerel Weed, Pontederia cordata
- Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea
- Eupatoriums, Eupatorium spp.
- Blazing Stars, Liatris spp.
- Elephant Garlic, Allium spp.
- Oregano, Origanum vulgare
- Ironweeds, Vernonia spp.
- Mexican Sunflower, Tithonia spp.
- Zinnias, Zinnia spp.
For more information about gardening to attract Tiger Swallowtail and other butterflies, consult one of these great books on the subject.
You'll find plant lists for your area and information about the life of butterflies, as well as landscaping ideas and tips.
If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, you will need to plant both larval food and nectar plants. Each kind of butterfly uses a certain type of food plant on which to lay its eggs.
The butterfly guides below will give you a list of the larval plants which each type of butterfly requires.
The caterpillar guide above will help you identify the larval stage of most butterflies and moths in North America, so you'll know what those caterpillars that are eating your plants will turn out to be.
Buddleia Butterfly Bush
Field of Zinnas and Sunflowers
Links to More About Attracting Butterflies
- Butterflies and Gardening to Attract Them
What is more beautiful than a garden full of colorful flowers with gorgeous butterflies flitting around? It's really not that hard to create a haven for the
- Monarchs and Milkweed
Milkweed is the larval food plant for Monarch butterflies. You'll find information about Monarchs and also about wild and introduced milkweed species that can be grown in a garden.
- Butterflies - Gulf Fritillary
Photographs and information about the Gulf Fritillary butterflies and passion flower vine.
- Butterflies - Black Swallowtail
Photographs and information about Black Swallowtail butterflies and their life cycle.
- Herbs to attract Butterflies to your Garden
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Buddleia
© 2011 Yvonne L. B.
More by this Author
Information about the Spicebush Swallowtail and its larval and nectar plants are provided in this article. Many photographs of the butterfly and flowers by Y.L. Bordelon aka naturegirl7 illustrate the page.
The Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly can be found in the south and southwest. Its caterpillars feed on members of the parsley family. Photos and information about identification and attracting them to your garden are...
Louisiana abounds with reptiles, including snakes. We have photographed and studied some of the snakes that live in southeastern Louisiana.