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  • Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly - (Papilio troilus)

    Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly - (Papilio troilus)

    The Spicebush Swallowtail is one of North America's most popular butterflies and it benefits from mimicking a toxic doppleganger.

    Staff Writer (8/1/2016): This species of butterfly can be found in gardens and at the edges of forests. Its coloration resembles that of the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, however, the Spicebush Swallowtail has two rows of orange spots on the bottom of the hindwings (seen when wings are closed) where the Pipevine has only one row of orange spots. Fortunately for the Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly, the Pipevine Swallowtail is an unsavory meal for birds, arachnids and other insects so its similarity in appearance offers it some protection from predators.

    The Spicebush Swallowtail has an overall greenish tint to its wings. It also has the elongated 'tails' at the tips of the hindwings like all Swallowtails. Females have a band of blue along the base of the hindwings that is visible when the wings are open (flat). Males have a band of greenish-white instead of blue.

    It is most commonly seen in the warmer states of the southern U.S., but its range ventures as far north as southern Ontario. It is associated with the spicebush plant, a shrub with a spicy-lemony type of scent that is best appreciated by crushing a few leaves in your hand. Males are often seen drinking water from puddles formed by wet mud.

    Caterpillars feed on spicebush, sassafras and bay plants. The green caterpillar has a humpback with a large black and yellow eyespot on its sides. It is a tidy little creature, wrapping a leaf around itself for a shelter, pushing it own feces out of it to keep it clean.

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    Details of the:
    Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly
    Scientific Name: Papilio troilus
    Other Names: Green Clouded Swallowtail

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

    Size (Adult, Length): 89mm to 114mm (3.50in to 4.49in)

    Identifying Colors: black; blue; orange; white; yellow; green

    Additional Descriptors: flying, eyespots

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico

    * 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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