Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes)

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes)

Nectaring on Florida native Bidens alba the dots on the body are an identifying characteristic of this beauty.

Black Swallowtail, Eastern Papilio polyxenes

Black Swallowtail, Eastern Papilio polyxenes

Larval host: carrot family (Apiaceae) including non-native parsley (Petroselinium crispum), dill (Anthum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Florida native mock bishop’s weed (Ptilimnium capillaceum)

In my yard they use Florida Native Plant WATER COWBANE (Tiedemannia filiformis)

Despite having mock bishops weed in my yard, I have never seen this species use it.

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=1

There are color variations in adults.
Learn more: http://butterfliesofamerica.com/t/Papilio_polyxenes_a.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: WATER COWBANE (Tiedemannia filiformis)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/moving-day-black-swallowtail-butterfly/

From past encounters: eggs:


older instar larva:


see also: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/eastern-black-swallowtail-butterfly-caterpillar-papilio-polyxenes/


  1. Chalk up another win for Bidens alba! I have had quite a few on our “lower terrace”, but I don’t see them from the house and tend to forget they are there. I need to fix up a place where I can sit and quietly observe/photograph, since this photo reminds me of how popular they are with the insect crowd.

  2. Cindy said:

    Hi Loret.. Beautiful egg picture! They reliably breed in my yard on Bronze Fennel/Parsely/Carrot I have never found a pupa . I know they roam off.. do you find pupae? (!)

    • Loret said:

      Only one time….they usually move away from the host to pupate. I had one lazy one that ate and pupated on the same plant. And I saw the butterfly take off while I was running down to the pond with my camera and missed documenting the takeoff. Haven’t seen pupae since…although I do look at all the plants in the vicinity. They must be excellent leaf mimics or something. 🙂

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