Pale White Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon)

Pale White Swallowtail Butterfly
Wing span: 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 inches (6.4 - 9 cm).

Identification: Upper surface of wings creamy white with black stripes. Front wing is narrow and pointed; tail of hindwing is long, slender and twisted.

Life history: Males perch and patrol for receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves. Caterpillars feed on leaves and rest on silken mats in shelters of curled leaves. Pupae hibernate.

Flight: One flight from April-July, many flights in southern California from March-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Trees and shrubs in the Rosaceae, Rhamnaceae and Betulaceae families including cherry (Prunus emarginata), coffee-berry (Rhamnus californica), and ash (Alnus rubra).

Adult food: Flower nectar including California buckeye, yerba santa, and wallflower.

Habitat: Foothills, open woodlands, chaparral, streamsides.

Range: British Columbia east to Montana, south to New Mexico. California and Baja California.

Conservation: Not usually required.

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.