The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No 

  • What does it eat? Cherry, ash, willow, and other leaves

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? No.

  • Is it rare? No, but it isn't always common in all areas.

  • What does it turn into? The gorgeous tiger swallowtail butterfly.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Yes, if you give it an upright stick to pupate on.

Tiger Swallowtail

The tiger swallowtail is one of the brightest and largest of all North American butterflies. It flies in the early summer, gliding high among the branches of willow, ash, and cherry trees, the food plants of the caterpillar. Like all Swallowtail (Papilio) species, this caterpillar has a defensive mechanism called called an "osmeterium." It's a red, forked gland that it can pop out from behind its head. The organ looks like a snake's tongue and smells like rotten fruit. A very interesting adaptation!

Papilio glaucus

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