Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilionidae)
Papilionidae or the swallowtails, large butterflies characterized by extended tail-like appendages divide into two subfamilies, Parnassiinae, Papilioninae.
Parnassians a wide ranging subfamily, fly over over much of the northern hemisphere. Five recognized North American species.
Most species share some physical characteristics. The majority have white color wings highlighted by black and/or red markings. Their wings are semi-translucent, and contrary to swallowtail butterfly trends, their wings are often tailless.
|Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilionidae)
Types of Butterflies
Most people associate the approximately forty North American Swallowtail species with the Papilio genus.
While Papilioniae divide into number genera, almost two-thirds of the species belong to the Papilio genus.
Finding swallowtails can be an easy task in the southern most areas of the United States. Close to one-half of all swallowtail species can be found, sometimes only occasionally, in South Texas and South Florida.
The remaining swallowtail species also have a limited geographical range, and therefore the number of species present in any area usually counts less than ten.
Swallowtail caterpillars also stir the lenses of butterfly photographers. Often big and colorful, or down right zany looking, with eye spots like the specimen in the first picture.
Picture two shows the caterpillar of the Pipevine Swallowtail.
© 2009-2013 Patricia A. Michaels