Species Page: Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail

Papilio polyxenes asterius (Stoll, 1782)

Family: Papilionidae

Status: Common to abundant resident

NENHP Ranking: Not listed

Range: The Black Swallowtail is found from the Atlantic Coast in the United States and southern Canada west to eastern Saskatchewan and eastern Arizona. It is found throughout Nebraska.

Larval Hostplant(s): Larvae feed on a wide variety of members of the Parsley Family – Apiacea including hemlocks. Ornamental and garden plants (Dill, Fennel, and Rue) are utilized as well. Musineon tenuifolium, a hostplant shared with some of its relatives (Old World and Anise Swallowtails), is fed on in the Nebraska panhandle.

Broods/Flight Times: Multiple broods from April into October.

Overwintering: As pupae.

Habitat: This butterfly has adapted well to urban settings, landscaping and gardening and is probably more numerous there than “in the wild.”

Avg. Wingspan:  3 1/4 – 4 1/4 inches

Found at:

Similar Species: Pipevine Swallowtail and Red Spotted Purple.


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