Palamedes Swallowtail – Papilio palamedes

Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies Papilio palamedes are found in the southeastern United States and up to New York. Hosting on the same plants as Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies, they can often be found on the same trees. They are found in coastline states from Texas to New York. Host trees include Persea bays such as red bay, swamp bay, and silk bay. They also eat spicebush, sassafras, and a few other trees.

They greatly resemble male Black Swallowtail butterflies. Yellow scales on the hindwings are blended into a solid line on the Palamedes Swallowtail and are separate spots on the Black Swallowtail.

Unlike most Swallowtail butterflies, they have a yellow line down their bodies. On the outside (bottom) of their hindwings, they each have a yellow line close to and parallel to their bodies.

Eggs are identical to Spicebush Swallowtail eggs. In areas where these two species are found together, one cannot tell by either the egg or plant the identity of the species. Caterpillars resemble greatly but do differ in appearance. While Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars normally roll the leaf as a ‘nest’, Palamedes Swallowtail caterpillars aren’t as apt to roll a leaf.

Hatching as a brown and white caterpillar, they first resemble bird or lizard droppings.

As they grow, they begin to turn green.

Later instar caterpillars are all green. Although they do have two sets of eye spots, one spot is very small and often overlooked. Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars have larger second eye spots.

Before pupating, some turn yellow as they walk about, deciding where to pupate.

Attaching in a ) shaped, the caterpillar begins the process of pupation. The first part takes about a day and happens inside the caterpillar.

After almost a day, the caterpillar pupates. If they pupate near brown leaves or on brown stems/trunks, they will be brown.

If they pupate near green leaves, they will be green.

Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies spend the winter as chrysalises. When spring arrives and host plants grow fresh leaves, the adult butterflies emerge, mate, and lay eggs.

Female adults have blue dots on their hindwings.