Spicebush OR Black Swallowtail? An Underwing Guide

May 21, 2011

This may be redundant, but the question sometimes comes up: Spicebush or Black Swallowtail?

These two newly hatched individuals were seconds away from release and decided to pose for an educational poster.

Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus

* Is usually large

* Has "blue comet" mark that pushes through the orange spots in the disc.

* Has small orange spot with no black eyespot at bottom of submargin.


Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes

* Is usually smallish

* Has complete row of orange spots in disc

* Has large orange spot with black eyespot at bottom of submargin.


Comments (4)

  • siam_cannas

    Great idea, how very useful, thanks.

  • MissSherry

    Great instructional pictures, Jeff!
    To me, the black spot in the red circle is totally diagnostic - black swallowtails have a hangover. :)

  • bandjzmom

    Well, this is so very useful!! Thank you for posting this. It will help me with a much quicker ID in the yard.~~Angie

  • publicpollenhas

    This made it really easy to ID one of my garden butterflies.

    Hugs from publicpollen

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