Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail
Papilio appalachiensis (Pavulaan & Wright, 2002)


Family: Papilionidae
Subfamily: Papilioninae
Identification: Similar to Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, but larger. Wings slightly angular and vertical black stripes narrower. Hindwings of males triangular. Underside of forewings with nearly continuous yellow submarginal band. Undersides of hindwings with rectangular submarginal lunules. Female has both yellow and black forms. Both forms with markedly reduced iridescent blue wash on topside of hindwings. The upperside hindwing has a prominent orange marginal spot that is generally smaller than the row of pale marginal spots.
Wing Span: 8.6 - 11.5 cm (3 3/8 - 4 1/2 inches).
Life History: One brood (May–June). Males patrol tree tops in a sailing looping flight looking for females. On mountain summits and ridge tops, males often in hurried flight. Females are extremely elusive, prefering to remain in forest canopy. Females lay eggs singly on host leaves. Caterpillar eats leaves; chrysalids overwinter.
Flight: May-June.
Caterpillar Hosts: Leaves of wild black cherry (Prunus), the only currently known host.
Adult Food: Nectar from a variety of plants including early & pink azalea (Rhododendron), mountain laurel (Kalmia), cockspur thorn (Crataegus), blackberry (Rubus), bush honeysuckle (Diervilla), and multiflora rose (Rosa).
Habitat: Deciduous broadleaf forests of mid-to-high elevations in southern Appalachian Mountains. Seldom strays far from wooded areas.
Range: Southern Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania to Georgia, westward to northeast Alabama.
Conservation: Not required.
NCGR: G4/5 – Demonstrably secure; may be rare in lower elevations of its range.
Management Needs: None noted.
Comments: NULL