Species Page: Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

Anise Swallowtail

Papilio zelicaon (Lucas, 1852)

Family: Papilionidae

Status: Uncommon local resident

NENHP Ranking: S3, Tier 2

Range:  From central British Columbia and Alberta this butterfly can be found south into Baja Mexico and northern portions of Arizona and New Mexico. From the West Coast it is found east to the western portions of Nebraska and the Dakotas.

Larval Hostplant(s): Primarily Thread Leaf Musineon (M. tenuifolium) in our region

Broods/Flight Times: There are two flights. In Nebraska the primary flight occurs in the spring and early summer (May 9-30), these adults having emerged from overwintering pupae. The second flight may only be partial with adults on the wing from late June to mid-July.

Overwintering: As pupae.

Habitat: In Nebraska this species is most common in the western half of the panhandle where it inhabits rocky hillsides, ridges and roadcuts where the hostplant is found. A black form nitra occurs in our area, usually comprising about a quarter of the population. This species range and those of the Black and Old World Swallowtails overlap in western Nebraska. They also have some hostplants in common in that area and have been hybridized in the lab, so wild hybrids could occur.

Avg. Wingspan: 2 3/4 – 3 1/2 inches

Found at: Gilbert-Baker SWMA, Wildcat Hills & Bridgeport SRAs, Sidney I-80 E Rest Stop

Similar Species: Old World Swallowtail