Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly (Eurytides marcellus)
The remarkable black and white Zebra Swallowtail butterfly resembles a long-tailed kite. Its flying is dramatic and a wonderful sight to see. The velvety red stripes on the hind wings surrounded by black and white give away its identity. They enjoy swampy areas to breed and lay eggs, while they enjoy the open fields and brushy areas to feed on nectar.
Female Zebra Swallowtail lay tiny round pale green eggs on Pawpaw leaves, their host plant. As the eggs mature, they start turning brown. Soon after, an olive-colored caterpillar emerges. During the 10-14 days of the caterpillar’s life the color changes to green with yellow stripes or black with yellow and white stripes.
There are two to three broods per year, the spring brood being the smallest and one of the first butterflies to appear in the spring. Compared to other swallowtail butterflies, their proboscis is much shorter, so they are attracted to shorter and flatter blooms instead of long tube-shaped flowers. This butterfly is a fantastic treat to have in a butterfly garden.
See the images below to identify the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly life cycle stages and how to attract them to your garden.