Canadian tiger swallowtail

(Papilio canadensis)

Conservation Status
Canadian tiger swallowtail
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure


not listed


Canadian tiger swallowtail is a small swallowtail but nevertheless a large butterfly. It has a wingspan of 2½ to 3½.

The upperside of the forewing is yellow with four black “tiger” stripes and a wide black border with small yellow spots.

The hindwing is yellow with one black stripe that appears as a continuation of the innermost forewing stripe and a broad blackish border along the inner margin, next to the body. A wide black border on the outer margin is broken by a marginal band of 5 yellow, crescent-shaped spots and a submarginal band of 2 to 5 iridescent blue, crescent-shaped spots. The amount of blue in the submarginal band is variable. There are two bright orange spots on the inner margin at the rear of the hindwing. The yellow band, just inside the wide black border of both wings, is broken up by conspicuous black veins. The hindwings have “tails”.

The underside of the forewing is paler yellow with black stripes. There is a wide black border with a marginal row of yellow spots that have merged into a continuous yellow band. The underside of the hindwing is yellow with a central black stripe. There is a wide black border with an marginal row of yellow-and-orange spots and an submarginal row of blue spots.

The female is similar to the male but with much more blue scaling in the black border. There is a black form female but it is only found in Newfoundland, Canada.

The caterpillar is green and smooth, with no spines or hairs. There are small eye-like spots on the third thoracic segment with a black and white pupil.




Wingspan: 2½ to 3½


Similar Species

  Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is larger and more yellow above. The black border along the inner margin of the wing is much thinner. The marginal band of yellow spots on the underside of the forewing is broken into distinct spots.  

Deciduous and mixed woodland edges.




One brood: late May to mid-July






Life Cycle


Males emerge in the spring shortly before the females. The congregate, often in large groups, at mud puddles where they replenish moisture and minerals lost during metamorphosis.

Individuals overwinter as a chrysalis.


Larva Hosts


Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides var. molinifera), black cherry (Prunus serotina), crabapple (Malus spp.), birch (Betula), willow (Salix), and possibly ash (Fraxinus).


Adult Food


Flower nectar.


Distribution Map



7, 20, 21, 29, 71.







Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  


Papilionoidea (butterflies)  


Papilionidae (swallowtails)  


Papilioninae (swallowtails)  


Papilionini (fluted swallowtails)  







Common Names


Canadian tiger swallowtail









The pupa (third) stage of a butterfly or moth during which the caterpillar metamorphoses into an adult. In moths, the pupa is enclosed in a silk cocoon. In butterflies, the pupa is naked but protected by a hardened outer shell.























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    Canadian tiger swallowtail   Canadian tiger swallowtail  
    Canadian tiger swallowtail   Canadian tiger swallowtail  
    Canadian tiger swallowtail      



Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus canadensis)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus canadensis)  

This set will contain only thoe confirmed Canadians by experts, not by me.




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  papilio canadensis butterfly #1 papillon

Published on Jun 7, 2012

Today was a busy one, working in the yard, than, I notice a butterfly landing on a flower and die. At the end of my working day, another one came along, actually 2 more, they were so beautiful. I grab my camera and capture that great moment.So, before we all die live your life to the fullest...

Life is short, you will never know when death knock on your door.

Peace and love to all

  Canadian Tiger Swallowtail at the dandelion

Published on May 15, 2012

Papilio canadensis

  Butterflies! - Caterpillar to Pupa Transformation

Published on Oct 15, 2012

The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)

  Yellow and black butterfly - Canadian tiger swallowtail
Eric Bombardier

Uploaded on Mar 27, 2010

Photography website:

On a long camping trip I stumbled upon a less-than-shy yellow and black butterfly with blue and orange-like spots. It is a Canadian tiger swallowtail (Papilio canadensis). For more pictures, please visit my photography website at For pictures of that specific butterfly, go to Gallery - Nature. is a photography website including hundreds of pictures of nature, animals, places and panoramas.

  Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Bruce Causier

Uploaded on Jul 10, 2011

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly - Papilio canadensis have a wing span 50 mm to 90 mm. You can see this one mud puddling for mineral salt.




Visitor Sightings

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  Cindy Selle

Location: Hutchinson, MN

found on coneflower. Took some beautiful  pictures.





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