Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes)

2 June

Several of these have been seen in town during recent hot weather – sadly they seem to almsot never come to rest anywhere near a functioning camera. The “good” picture here was actually taken with an iPhone as one specimen did pause … the other was the best of about 30 images taken of two specimens who never stopped, and taken with a bells and whistles camera too … should have been the best pictures but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. This specimen is a male.

Habitats of the black swallowtail are generally open areas, including both uplands and wet areas—wet prairies, fields, flat-woods, pine savannas, roadsides, weedy areas, and gardens. Males perch and patrol open areas for females—often near patches of host plant. Black swallowtail caterpillars utilize a variety of herbs in the carrot family (Apiaceae) as host plants

Eggs are laid singly on the host plants—usually on new foliage and occasionally on flowers. Development time is variable depending on temperature and host plant species, but generally the egg stage lasts four to nine days, the larval stage 10–30 days, and the pupal stage nine to 18 days (except for overwintering pupae). Pupae are the overwintering stage. There are two generations in northern parts of the range but at least three generations in the South.