Where do black swallowtails migrate?

by JHobbs
(Marine, IL)

The caterpillars from my black swallowtails have emerged and are ready to be released. My second graders will do this in the next couple of days. I would like to be able to tell them where they are going???
Thank you,
J Hobbs

Karen says:
Black swallowtails do not migrate like monarchs. Did you mean your butterflies (instead of caterpillars) emerged? If you meant butterflies, there probably will be one more generation of black swallowtails in your area that will go from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and then overwinter in a chrysalis. The last generation of black swallowtails in the fall remain in a chrysalis outside in the winter (this is called diapause - a sort of hibernation) and emerge when it warms up in the spring. So that it what you can tell your students! Read more about the black swallowtail chrysalis.

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Where do black swallowtails migrate?

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Black Swallowtail
by: JHobbs

Yes, I meant the butterflies emerged from the chrysalises. We released them a week ago and they very quickly flew away. I am understanding that another generation of black swallowtails may be found nearby in a caterpillar or chrysalis state, stay in a chrysalis state throughout the winter, and emerge as butterflies in the spring.Is this correct? Also, did the butterflies we released simply stay in the area?
Thank you.

Karen says:
Yes, that is correct. The last generation of black swallowtails in the fall overwinter in the chrysalis state. My guess is the butterflies you released did stay in your area. I don't think they usually travel very far. If it is warm enough maybe they will mate, lay eggs and continue to the chrysalis state where they will overwinter. If it turns cold, they will probably just die.

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