Flying Tigers

Tiger swallowtail (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)
Female eastern tiger swallowtail (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

25 May 2017

There are tigers in the park, floating among the trees, gliding in the sunshine, visiting the flowers.

Eastern tiger swallowtails (Papilio glaucus) first appeared in Schenley Park in April.  Their caterpillars feed on many kinds of trees including wild cherry, magnolia, tuliptree, cottonwood and willow, so they get started early and can produce two to three broods per year.

You can sex this butterfly by color.  Female tiger swallowtails have iridescent blue on both sides of their hindwings.  The males are black where the females are blue.

While you’re looking closely to figure out their sex, notice that their tiny bodies are striped, too.

Eastern tiger swallowtail (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)
Eastern tiger swallowtail (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

Striped all over, tiny tigers.

(photos by Marcy Cunkelman)

2 thoughts on “Flying Tigers

  1. Was watching one float around my back yard yesterday. Now, if I can get close enough, I can try to see whether it was female or male. Thanks for the information!

  2. I was at the local nursery last week and there were quite a few of what looked like these flitting around. I didn’t know what they were. I also saw one in my yard. It was flying around near my porch, but sadly, it didn’t land. Such a joy to watch. (I’m in southwestern CT)

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