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Anise Swallowtail Butterfly

Eastern Washington

Picture of anise swallowtail butterfly - Papilio zelicaon
Anise Swallowtail - April

Anise swallowtail butterflies (Papilio zelicaon) rely on a variety of fragrant umbels as the host plants for their caterpillars including desert parsley and angelica, and such common garden plants as carrot, fennel and parsley. Adult butterflies get by on nectar from thistle, mustard, balsamroot, penstemon, pearly everlasting and other flowers.

Anise swallowtail wings look like those of Oregon swallowtail but tend to be shorter, and anise' caudal orange spot has a black pupil round and centered, not squished up against its outer rim as with Oregon swallowtails. Anise swallowtail also has a black body with yellow stripes rather than a yellow body with black stripes.. Wingspan is 2 to 3-1/2 inches.

Picture of Anise swallowtail butterfly, or Papilio zelicaon
Anise Swallowtail Butterfly
with pupil centered in orange hindwing spot