Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

Anise Swallowtail Butterfly
Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 1/2 inches (7 - 9 cm).

Identification: Upper surface of hindwing has yellow-orange eyespot near tail with round black center that is not connected to hindwing margin. Anal cell of hindwing is primarily yellow.

Life history: Males perch on hilltops and patrol for receptive females. Female lays eggs singly on host plant leaves and flowers. Young caterpillars eat leaves while older ones eat flowers. Chrysalids hibernate.

Flight: One flight from April-July.

Caterpillar hosts: Many species in the parsley family (Apiaceae) including wild fennel, carrot leaves, Queen Anne's Lace.

Adult food: Not reported.

Habitat: Bare hills, mountains, gardens, fields, vacant lots, and roadsides.

Range: From British Columbia southeast to North Dakota, south to s. California, Arizona, New Mexico; Baja California; Mexico. A rare stray to central Nebraska and eastern North Dakota.

Conservation: Not usually of concern.

Management needs: None noted.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Photographs and text copyright by and adapted from US Geological Survey's Butterflies of North America.