Caterpillar food: many different tree leaves including Cherry, Alder, Ash, Lilac, Basswood, and Apple
Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are yellow with black “tiger” stripes, and in our area can be confused with Canadian Tiger Swallowtails.
Female Tiger Swallowtails can either be yellow and black like the males, or all black. The dark tiger stripes can usually be seen even on the wings of the black ones – as in this black female seen on 8/8/2005. It helps to look at them with the light coming from behind.
8/10/2009 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – probably a male – on our driveway. Males suck up moisture from mud, gravel or mammal scat to collect salts that are used in mating.
6/7/2008 Male on common milkweed – above, males have a wide black border on the hindwing, with a few blue spots near the tails.
8/8/2005 Female on common milkweed – above, yellow females have a wide blue border on the hindwing
A few times I’ve seen females that have coloring mid-way between the black and yellow forms.
6/15/2009 I found this early instar Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar on the top of a Wild Black Cherry leaf (Prunus serotina).
At this point, it spent much of its time resting on top of one of the leaves – returning to the same leaf each time. It fastened itself on with silk, and the leaf hung straight down from the branch. It would leave the leaf to eat other leaves – but never ate its resting leaf. This shows the silk that it used to fasten itself to the leaf.
6/27/2009 The larva hanging on its leaf
7/7/2009 Getting ready to pupate
7/11/2009 The finished pupa
On July 27th the pupa darkened
And later that morning the adult emerged. It was a black female.
The empty chrysalis
Just before releasing her
Another life cycle sequence – this time a yellow female – also eating Wild Black Cherry. The first photo was taken on 7/14/2022, she emerged and was released on 8/25/2022.