Spicebush Swallowtail

The Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) is a fairly black swallowtail found in North America. It is the state butterfly of Mississippi.


Adults can be identified by their spoon-shaped tails and by their bright green (male) or iridescent blue (female) hind-wings. Ivory spots may be visible on the forewings, and orange spots may appear on the hindwings. Wingspan may be 3 to 4 inches.


The Spicebush Swallowtail is found only in the Eastern US and extreme southern Ontario, with occasional strays in the American Midwest and even Cuba.


This primarily black swallowtail is normally found in deciduous woods or woody swamps, where they can be found flying low and fast through shaded areas.

Life cycle

The caterpillars live in folded leaf shelters and eat the leaves of the sassafras or spicebush. Adults consume a variety of nectars, including those from azalea, Japanese honeysuckle, milkweed, and thistle flowers.

Both sexes are thought to be edible mimics of the distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail.

In popular culture

The caterpillar of this butterfly was made popular by Caterpie from Pokémon. Also, Sloan, a character in the anime "Medabots," once dressed up as the caterpillar of this butterfly during a fancy dress party.

External links

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