Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
Eurytides marcellus [Cramer]


David Simmons, Castleberry, Alabama
Copyright (c) 2007 David Simmons

Identification: Oplar, USGS Internet pages, Butterflies of Alabama - The upper surface of the wings consists of black stripes on a pale whitish-green background. The hindwings have very long tails. The early-spring form is smaller and lighter colored. Overall wing span is 2 1/2 - 4 inches (6.4 - 10.4 cm). Its preferred habitat is moist low woodlands near swamps and rivers. Adults fly to nectar plants in open fields and brushy areas.

The adult males fly in the understory near host plants to find females. Females lay single green eggs on the lower leaves of host plant. Caterpillars live and feed on the underside of these leaves, then pupate and hibernate there.

Two flights annually; April to August in the northern part of its range; many flights are seen from March through December in its southern range.

Caterpillar host plants are Pawpaw. Young plants are preferred.

Adult feed on moisture from sand and nectar from flowers including blueberry, blackberry, lilac, redbud, viper's bugloss, verbena, dogbane, and common milkweed.

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