Tigere Swallowtails
Males or Females?

by Loretta Steffens
(Fountain City, IN)

I grow Bronze Fennel and have watched the Swallowtails lay eggs and the joy of watching feeding babies. Two questions: I thought the yellow Swallowtails were males and the black females. Not so?

When the babies mature they will crawl several hundred feet from the garden, past "woodsey" flower beds, toward our garage. I've lost three because of the garage door. Why do they do this?

They are truly a joyous part of gardening and I've been teaching my great niece to appreciate them too.

Thanks for the great tips. I have a beautiful black baby that I've been protecting from Fall's extreme weather. Now I know how to protect it for the winter.

Karen says:

Hi Loretta - thanks for the question. The swallowtails can be very confusing.

Yes, the tiger swallowtail males are yellow, but the female tiger swallowtail can be black....like a black swallowtail which has two rows of yellow spots on their fore wings....the black female tiger has one row of faint yellow spots. But, it can also be yellow. The yellow female usually has some blue on the hind wing between the black margin and the main yellow area.

On your other question about the caterpillars "wandering". They do this to find a place to "hide" when they pupate. Funny, they choose the garage :)

I hope this helps. Enjoy!

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Butterfly Questions.