Papilio polyxenes asterius

Beginner Rearing InstructionsEastern Black Swallowtail

Photo Life History: Papilio polyxenes asterius

Habitat:  Mountain Canyons; Mountain Hilltops; Forest (edges); Agricultural Areas; Urban-Suburban

Host Plants:  Daucus carota, Ruta graveolens, Anethum graveolens, Cychlospermum leptophyllum, Thamnosma texana

Suitable Lab Host Plants
: Foeniculum vulgare. Lomatium dissectum. Almost any potted fennel, dill, and/or parsley purchased from a nursery.  (Make sure that potted parsleys have not been sprayed with insecticides.)

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Feed females regularly.

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Open Screen Cages

How to Find Eggs: Isolated Host Plants.  Also, one can gather eggs by following a female as she examines plants and oviposits on host plants.

How to Hatch Eggs:  Consolidate eggs into one container

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field:  Isolated Host Plants.  Young instars are black with a white saddle and contrast somewhat easily against the greenish background of the host plant.  Late instar larvae create unique strip patterns on the host plant.

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums; Open Bucket

Larva to Pupa:  Larva purges and wanders

How to Find Pupae in the Field: 

Number of Broods per Year:  1-3; depending upon location.

Overwintering Stage:  Pupa. 

Overwintering Strategies: Your Own Backyard; Refrigerator

Post-Hibernation Strategies: Expose post-diapause pupae to warmer temperatures (room temperature) Long-Day Photoperiod; High Humidity.  (Mist spray pupae daily once your bring them out of the cold or refrigerator.)

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  Provide larvae with healthy host plant in combination with long-day photoperiod

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every three to six days. 

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes: