×
BugFinder Insects by State Spiders Butterflies & Moths Bees, Ants, & Wasps Beetles All Bugs Videos (YouTube)

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)


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



Loading SVG image placeholder
1/1
Image Credit: Robin W. from Venice Beach, CA
Full-sized image of the Western-Tiger-Swallowtail-Butterfly Thumbnail image of the Western-Tiger-Swallowtail-Butterfly

The Western Tiger Swallowtail has all the hallmarks of its genus and comfortably resides between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains.



Updated: 08/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Like all Tiger Swallowtails, the Western Tiger Swallowtail is yellow with long, black stripes on its forewings, resembling that familiar pattern seen on tigers. The stripes closest to the body are darker and thicker than its Eastern and Canadian counterparts. Each hindwing has only one tail extension, unlike its relative, the Two-Tailed Tiger Swallowtail. These delicate tails may break or wear off over time. An orange eyespot in a field of blue sits at the bottom of the hindwings and is visible when the wings are open flat. A thick black band runs closely along the bottom of the forewings.

This species of Swallowtail is widespread in its region, living in various habitats from coastal areas to mountainous elevation. Up to 4 broods can be produced each year, securing its presence. The fleshy green caterpillar has a yellow and black collar by its head on a bulging, wide part of its body. Blue dots form a ring above this collar and also circle segments on the body. Two elongated eyespots are near the head. Each consists of a smaller, inner yellow spot usually connected by a blue block to a larger outer eyespot with black and blue pupils. Larvae feed on leaves of cottonwood, birch, ash, alder, aspen, willow, and other trees common to the region. Adults drink nectar and can be found flying all summer long. In warmer coastal areas, they may be seen most of the year. Because host trees grow in many habitats, Western Tiger Swallowtails can be seen as frequently in backyards as they are on remote hiking trails.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Papilionidae
View More
          Genus: Papilio
View More
            Species: rutulus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Papilio rutulus
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 90mm to 110mm (3.54" to 4.33")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow, black, blue, orange, white
Descriptors: stripes, eyespot, tails, flying
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 90mm and 110mm
Lo: 90mm
Md: 100mm
Hi: 110mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Western Tiger Swallowtail may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects 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. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Western Tiger Swallowtail. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Sitemap


Beetle Identification Butterfly Identification Caterpillar Identification Spider ID

www.InsectIdentification.org • Content ©2006- InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved. The InsectIdentification.org logo, its written content, and watermarked photographs/imagery are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and is protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. This resource uses publically-released information. Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (regarding bites, etc...).Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. By submitting images to us (InsectIdentification.org) you acknowledge that you have read and understood our Site Disclaimer as it pertains to "User-Submitted Content". When emailing please include your location and the general estimated size of the specimen in question if possible. Please direct all inquiries and comments to insectidentification AT gmail.com.

www.InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2006-

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo