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Butterflies of Rhode Island -- Eurytides marcellus

North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Rhode Island

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
JPG -- species photo


Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus [Cramer])

Wing span: 2 1/2 - 4 inches (6.4 - 10.4 cm).

Identification:Upper surface of wings with black stripes on pale whitish-green background; hindwings have very long tails. Early-spring form is smaller and lighter colored.

Life history: Adult males fly in the understory near host plants to find females. Females lay single green eggs on lower leaves of host plant. Caterpillars live and feed on the underside of these leaves, then pupate and hibernate there.

Flight: Two flights, April-August, in the northern part of its range; many flights, March-December, in the south.

Caterpillar hosts: Shrubs of the genus Asimina (pawpaw) in the Annonaceae family. Young plants are preferred.

Adult food: Moisture from sand and nectar from flowers including blueberry, blackberry, lilac, redbud, viper's bugloss, verbena, dogbane, and common milkweed.

Habitat: Breeds in moist low woodlands near swamps and rivers. Adults fly to nectar plants in open fields and brushy areas.

Range: Rare in northern part of range.

Conservation: Not usually of concern.

Management needs: Maintain host trees in various stages of succession.

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

References:

Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains.
     Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates.

Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies.
     Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages,
     48 color plates.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University
     Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp.    

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 
     
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.      
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
distribution map
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