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tigerupclose.jpg (68813 bytes)TigerBlack.jpg (65722 bytes) The female Tiger Swallowtails are dimorphic (have two forms) with some having black wings.  The black form is easy to distinguish from other 'black' swallowtails because they lack the hind wing median orange spot-band of the Black and Spicebush Swallowtails and the iridescent blue of Pipevine Swallowtails.  They also have a shadow of the 'tiger' pattern.  The black form mimics the distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail, and is more dominate where the Pipevines are common.  These are often in my garden.

TigerPenta.jpg (138176 bytes)TigerBlack1.jpg (84560 bytes)Common throughout the eastern US and Canada.   Like the Giant Swallowtail, the Tiger Swallowtail is one of the largest butterflies in North America.  Maximum wingspread is 6 inches.  A high flyer, the Tiger often takes nectar on flowering trees like wild cherry, but will feed from shorter plants as well.  Both males and females like to visit such flowers as milkweeds, thistles, butterfly bush, lilac, and honeysuckle, one book I have says they are especially fond of aromatic Oriental lilies.  TheTiger Swallowtails that visit my garden are only interested in my red Pentas.  They land momentarily on the swamp milkweed, but always returned to the Pentas, going from one to the next, and back again. 

Tigercat.jpg (59378 bytes)The caterpillars feed on a variety of trees, to include Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), Willow (Salix), Cottonwood (Populus), Wild Cherry (Prunus), Sweet Bay (Magnolia), Basswood (Tilia), Birch (Betula), Ash (Fraxinus) {Fraxinus americana, or White Ash, is native to N. Fla.} , Mountain Ash (Sorbus) and Sassafras.  Larvae are green, with a pair of large eyespots in the front part of the thorax.



Here are some other pics of the black form I found in my garden.  I was very excited when I (finally) figured out what the heck this HUGE black swallowtail was.  I've never seen one before, other than in books.
TigerBlack2.jpg (90017 bytes) TigerBlack3.jpg (119038 bytes) TigerBlack4.jpg (147366 bytes)

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