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  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail - (Papilio canadensis)

    Canadian Tiger Swallowtail - (Papilio canadensis)

    A classic northern native, the big and bold Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is found coast to coast in the northern part of the continent.

    Staff Writer (8/25/2017): Commonly seen in northern states and all provinces, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is similar in appearance to the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. In some parts of its range, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail has been replaced by the expanding Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. The two species were once considered the same, but genetic testing done in the early 1990's merited a separation of the two types. The Western Tiger Swallowtail is taking over territory in British Columbia.

    Males can be found congregating at puddles (puddling) in large numbers. Water and minerals dissolved in it are ingested at these social gatherings. Females do not partake in this activity.

    Females lay eggs on the southern leaves of trees for more sun exposure. Young caterpillars are white and brown, resembling bird droppings making them less likely to be eaten. Later caterpillars are green and eventually brown, blending in with leaf cover. They have enlarged heads that have two false eyes and a yellow 'collar'. It has an ostromerium behind its head, where a gland secretes a foul odor when disturbed. They feed on a variety of leaves like those from birch, black cherry and aspen trees. They are not a pest however so they do not require control. They pupate through the winter and emerge as winged adults in the following spring.

    Adults are active from late spring into mid-summer where they can be seen visiting flowers for nectar. Look for them in open deciduous forests where host trees live. They are also at home in more developed environments like backyards, gardens and parks in urban areas.

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    Details of the:
    Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
    Scientific Name: Papilio canadensis

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Papilionidae
           Genus: Papilio
            Species: canadensis

    Size (Adult, Length): 53mm to 80mm (2.09in to 3.15in)

    Identifying Colors: yellow, black, orange, white, blue

    Additional Descriptors: stripes, lines, spots, dashes, ,tail, flying

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alaska; Connecticut; Delaware; Idaho; Maine; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Montana; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Dakota; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Dakota; Vermont; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; Manitoba; Saskatchewan; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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