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Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail.


 Updated: 3/15/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Canadian Tiger Swallowtail  
Picture of Canadian-Tiger-Swallowtail-Butterfly
Picture of Canadian-Tiger-Swallowtail-Butterfly


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





Commonly seen in northern U.S. 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 In some parts of its range, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail has been replaced by the expanding Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.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.

As its feline name suggests, Canadian Tiger Swallowtails are yellow with black stripes. Long black 'tails' extend from the bottoms of both hindwings. An orange crescent sits close to the inner edges of each hindwing. When the wings are flat, the hindwings come together and form a single orange eyespot. Hindwings are also shaded with blue in the bottom border. The underside of the wings have more orange and blue along the borders. Males can be found congregating in large numbers at puddles (a social activity called puddling). Water and minerals dissolved in puddles are ingested at these gatherings. Females do not partake in the event.

Females lay eggs on the southern leaves of trees for more sun exposure. Young caterpillars are white and brown like bird droppings, making them less likely to be eaten. Older caterpillars are green and eventually become brown, blending in with leaf cover. They have enlarged heads that have two false eyes and a yellow 'collar'. An ostromerium gland behind its head secretes a foul odor when it is 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. Larvae pupate through the winter and emerge as winged adults in the following spring. Adults are active from late spring into mid-summer when 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.
Basic Information
Common Name: Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
Scientific Name: Papilio canadensis
Category: Butterfly or Moth


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 53mm to 80mm (2.07in to 3.12in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: yellow, black, orange, white, blue
Additional Descriptors: stripes, lines, spots, dashes, ,tail, flying




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


Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


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