The Tiger Swallowtail…They have a dark form too!

Advertise ◇ Today is November 28, 2023 ◇ Subscribe
102 Foxhound Road ◇ Simpsonville, S.C. 29680
Phone: (864) 275-0001View our Old Website

Let us know if you have a possible news story to include in The Simpsonville Sentinel.


September 4, 2023 by Connie Gecy - Views: 55

Share this Page on Facebook

The Tiger Swallowtail…They have a dark form too!

S633-1.jpgS633-2.jpgHave you seen a big, beautiful, black and yellow butterfly floating across your yard and feeding on your Lantana? If you have, you’ve been watching our South Carolina state butterfly, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.  The Tiger Swallowtail’s black & yellow stripes and large size, 4-6 inch wing span, are easy to identify and almost as recognizable as a Monarch…but the Tiger Swallowtail has several “faces” for you to see.  The male butterfly has bold black & yellow stripes on its wings and even its body.   The female butterfly has also has the same bold tiger stripes on its forewings and body, but wears a beautiful blue on her hindwings.

Most people think if you can recognize the male & female of a species that you are well informed, but with this lady…there is another version that is so different, it is very tricky to identify!  There is a dark version of the female Tiger Swallowtail that still sports the blue hindwings, but is completely dark with no tiger stripes at all!  This dark lady is mimicking or copying the look of a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly because the Pipevine tastes very bad when attacked or eaten by predators!  The predators remember the nasty taste and leave these butterflies alone.  When there are a good number of the Pipevine Swallowtails in the area you may see some of the dark version females around.  This dark version is a form of protection known as mimicry.  


Even though the dark female Tiger Swallowtail does not taste bad, its coloring gives predators the warning colors of a Pipevine making the dark female safer with its black & blue coloring!  Of course, you will usually see the tiger striped female with their beautiful blue hindwings in your yard too.

To attract these butterflies to your yard you might want to add some of their host plants, where the female lay eggs and the caterpillars feed.  Wild cherry, sweet bay-Magnolia, tulip poplar, ash, birch, cottonwood, and willow are some of the host plants for the Tiger Swallowtail.  They feed from a variety of nectar plants like butterfly bush, wild cherry, lilac, and of course the favoritein my yard… Lantana!

Tiger Swallowtails are easy to spot and fun to watch as they float from plant to plant feeding…just be sure to watch out for the dark version of this beautiful butterfly, and you just may have the thrill of identifying a “new “ butterfly in your garden.■


Support Our Advertisers

Clark's Fine Jewelers

Upstate Property Rentals

Fountain Inn Christmas Events & Shows

The Simpsonville Sentinel

Home | Contact Us | Subscribe

Back Office

Copyright © 2010 - 2023 The Simpsonville Sentinel
Website Design by TADA! Media Services, Inc.