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Delaware State Butterfly:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly - click to see all state butterflies
Male Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly photo from Wikipedia.org.
See All State Insects.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

See tiger swallowtail butterfly video below

The brilliant tiger swallowtail butterfly (Pterourus glaucus) was designated the official state butterfly of Delaware in 1999. Three butterflies were chosen by students of the Richardson Park Learning Center as possible state butterflies, and a vote that included students throughout the state elected the tiger swallowtail as Delaware's butterfly symbol.

The tiger swallowtail butterfly is indigenous to Delaware and can be seen in deciduous woods, along streams, rivers, wooded swamps, and in towns and cities throughout the state.

Female tiger swallowtail butterfly - click to see all state insects
Dark form female tiger swallowtail butterfly - photograph by
Charles T. and John R. Bryson, Bugwood.org: Insectimages.org.
See All State Insects.

Female tiger swallowtails are often mostly black or brown (mimicking the poisonous pipevine swallowtail butterfly). However, females can also have yellow and black tiger stripes very similar to the males. Females lays their eggs on host plants that include yellow poplar, black willow, black cherry, American hornbeam, red maple, spicebush, American elm, and sassafras.

Tiger swallowtail caterpillar & silk - click to see all state insects
tiger swallowtail caterpillar and silk - photo by Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org: Insectimages.org.
See All State Insects.

When the eggs first hatch, the young caterpillers resemble bird droppings (an effective camouflage from predators). As the caterpillars grow, they turn green with a large head and bright "eyespots" (not actually eyes, but another tactic to discourage attackers). Many predators eat tiger swallowtail caterpillars including birds, squirrels, raccoons, and shrews.

Tiger swallowtail caterpillar  - click to see all insect symbols
Mature tiger swallowtail caterpillar, photo by Chris Evans,
River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org: Insectimages.org.
See All State Insects.

Adult tiger swallowtail butterflies drink nectar from flowers (including milkweed, thistles, Japanese honeysuckle, ironweed, and red clover). In this way butterflies help with plant pollination and many people plant flower gardens specifically to attract these beautiful insects.

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All State Insects


    

 

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Caterpillars of Eastern North America
Caterpillars of Eastern North America
Lavishly illustrated ... more

Organic Gardening Magazine (2-year subscription)
Organic Gardening Magazine
(2-year subscription)

Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Backyard Wildlife - National Wildlife Federation
Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Backyard Wildlife
by National Wildlife Federation

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Video:

See more state insect videos

Delaware Gifts - Gifts by State

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