The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is one of the most popular and familiar butterflies that are seen in the eastern United States. This butterfly is found around North America.
What Does the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Look Like?
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a fairly large butterfly that grows up to 5.5 inches. The male Tiger Swallowtail has tiger stripes on its back and front wings.
The female Tiger Swallowtail is yellow or black and this makes them dimorphic which means that their colors could be opposite.
On the back wings, the Tiger Swallowtail often will be seen with black and yellow spots. Some of the inner hindwings will have blue or red dots.
Where Does the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Live?
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail lives in the eastern United States in areas such as Texas, Florida and close to the Great Plains.
Some Tiger Swallowtails have been found in Ireland but that is thought to be an accidental butterfly habitat.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail likes to live close to moist areas such as rivers, creeks and streams and also likes to live in woods, gardens and close to parks and city areas.
What Does the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Eat?
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail drinks nectar from plants like ash, hoptree, lilac, tulip, wild black cherry and more.
Most of these butterflies like red or pink flowers.
When is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Most Active?
The Eastern Swallowtail is most active in Spring and fall, depending on what location is in. In the south, they are most active in February to November but in the north, they are more active from May to September.
Behavior of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is diurnal which means that they are most active in the daytime and least active at night.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail flies high above the ground and is often times seen above the canopy of trees.
Males do a behavior called puddling which means they hang out at puddles and stay around damp areas. They hang in groups. If a female puddles, she will not be in a group.
Finding a Mate
The male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail will look for a mate by hanging out close to host plants. The male and female will fly around with each other before they land.
The male will release a smell that will attract the female.
The color of the caterpillar of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail are distracting for predators and the color of their eyespots on their thorax causes birds to be distracted. The caterpillar can also change its body around to make the spots look like a snake to scare the predators.
Adults use a mimicry which is coloring of poisonous insects to stop predators from attacking.
More Facts About the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail:
- The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the state butterfly of Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
- The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the state insect of Virginia.
- The caterpillar of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail lets out a smell that is foul smelling to the predators.
- Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtails lay only one egg on top of the plant at a time.
- The egg of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is big for a butterfly egg and it takes around 10 days to hatch.
What Did You Learn?
What is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail?
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a butterfly that is found in eastern United States.
Why is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail named that?
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is named this because it has tiger stripes.
When is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail most active?
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is diurnal which means that it is most active during the day and not active at night.
How does the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail protect itself?
The caterpillar has eye spots that can change to look like a snake. The adult has a mimicry that makes it look poisonous like other insects. The caterpillar also lets out a foul smelling odor to scare predators.
Where does the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail live?
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is found close to streams, creeks and other moist areas.
- Back to -Insects