Some female eastern tiger swallowtails are yellow with black stripes, like the males. Others are black with darker black stripes. You can see the shadows of the stripes in this dorsal view. These stripes help to distinguish this dark form of the eastern tiger swallowtail from the similar-looking spicebush swallowtail.
This swallowtail is the largest butterfly in our state. In Florida, the larvae are a pest in citrus orchards, but here in Missouri, they feed primarily on prickly ash and hop tree, plants provided by nature.
The caterpillars are smooth and pretty green, with weird eyespots on a hump well behind the actual head. The winged adults are striking, too: black with beautiful iridescent blue and green on the hindwings.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.