Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon) (Lucas, 1852)

Diagnosis: This medium- to large-sized swallowtail can be distinguished from other species of the tiger swallowtail group by its creamy-white ground colour and wide black tiger stripes. Wingspan 62 to 100 mm.

Range: In Canada it occurs only in southern British Columbia, north to Wells Grey Provincial Park in the interior and Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near the coast, and in southwestern Alberta.


Specimen collection data


Description of this image follows.
Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon). Victoria, BC. J.B. Tatum

Similar Species: Distinguished from all the other similar swallowtails (canadensis, rutulus, multicaudatus) by its very pale ground colour. Some very faded specimens of these other species may resemble it. [compare images]

Early Stages: These are similar to those of other species in the tiger swallowtail group. Larval foodplants are in the families Rosaceae and Rhamnaceae, especially cherry (Prunus spp.) and Ceanothus.

Abundance: The Pale Swallowtail tends to be less common than the other species of the tiger swallowtail group.

Flight Season: The Pale Swallowtail flies from April until late July.

Habits: This is a butterfly of hilly and mountainous country and, among the tiger swallowtails, it is the one most often found hilltopping. It also tends to be fond of mud-puddling. The Pale Swallowtail isusually absent from drier, hotter areas.

Remarks: The Pale Swallowtail appears to be the least likely species to hybridize with other species ofthe tiger swallowtail group in the wild.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.