Western Tiger Swallowtail   Papilio rutulus

Life history facts

egg: laid singly, but may be many on leaf

larva: feeds on leaves and rest on silken mats in shelters of curled leaves

pupa: overwinters slung from a twig or tree trunk;

adult:  males patrol canyons or hilltops for receptive females; may congregate at mud

Status:  fairly common resident

Flights:  2-3, Mar - Oct

Distribution/known sites in Monterey County:  widespread, esp. in lowlands; Soberanes Creek, Carmel River, Old Stage Rd., etc.

Habitats:  riparian streamsides in woodlands, suburban areas

Host plants:  deciduous broad-leaved trees: cottonwoods, alder, willow, sycamore

Adult food:  nectars at thistles, Brodiaea, CA buckeye, zinnia, yerba santa; puddles in canyons

Conservation:  none required


  1.   wanders into any habitat

  2.   colored, foul-smelling, forked organ called osmeterium behind head on back of caterpillar can turn inside out and, along with eyespots, may deter predators

  3.   sexes similar, no black form female; UN HW postmedian area without orange suffusion

big sur river AMSP 9-1-06