Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes, life history
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) Life History

Female ovipositing, 5-22-10

Eggs from different plant, 5-23-09

Recently emerged caterpillar, 5-25-10




Caterpillar takes on well-known coloration after molt, 6-4-10

Mature caterpillar, 6-7-10

Prepupal caterpillar, 6-9-10

Chrysalis, 6-10-10

It is normal to find Pipevine Swallowtails ovipositing in the field behind my house, because their foodplant is abundant. So I was surprised one day to realize that the black swallowtail I was watching lay eggs was indeed a Black Swallowtail rather than her more common counterpart. It turns out she was using the native Texas plant Thamnosma texana. The common name for this plant is Dutchman's Breeches, but it should not be confused with the well-known cultivated flower that bears the same name.

I never did find the eggs being laid when I took the photo to the right, but I was able to locate two on another plant in the same area. The caterpillars took about three weeks to mature. The adults emerged while I was out of town.

Black Swallowtail Page