Pronunciation:  [Pa⋅pil·i·ON⋅i⋅dae]

Common Name:  Swallowtail and Parnassan Butterflies

Description:  The swallowtail butterflies are relatively large in size and common throughout the United States.  Most species have a distinctive “tail” on the back of each hind wing.  Parnassans are found only at high elevations.  They are medium-sized butterflies, white or light gray in color with dark markings and a red or orange spot on the hind wing.  Both swallowtails and parnassans have a distinctive spur (epiphysis) on the inner aspect of the front tibiae.

Spot ID Key Characters:

  1. Front legs well-developed
  2. Stout spur (epiphysis) on front tibia
  3. Characteristic tail on hind wings (swallowtails)
  4. Red or orange spot on hind wing (parnassans)

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Order:  Lepidoptera