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Pale Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon


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Pale Swallowtail
credit: Franco Folini/CCSA

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Family: Papilionidae, Swallowtails view all from this family

Description a relatively common swallowtail butterfly found throughout much of the western United States. It is found on the Pacific coast from northern Baja California to southernmost British Columbia and inland to New Mexico and the Black Hills of South Dakota.

It is present from the coast to western Montana and Wyoming to northern New Mexico. It is absent from most of Nevada and western Utah. It prefers open woodlands and forest clearings, especially near permanent bodies of water such as ponds, but also urban parks and occasionally is seen in suburban areas.

Though not as common as the Western Tiger Swallowtail, the pale swallowtail can be seen in large numbers at puddling parties where up to a dozen or more males may be seen gathered. There they join other species to sip water from damp soil to obtain nutrients for mating.

Their appearance is quite similar to that of the western tiger swallowtail except they are a white-cream color or very pale yellow. Some pale swallowtails also have differing amounts of red-orange patches on the wings just above the tail as well as on the . Tiger stripes and borders are thicker than those of western tiger swallowtails. The wingspan is typically 3.5 to 4.5 inches.

Dimensions 3-3 3/4" (76-95 mm).

Habitat Alpine & subalpine habitats, Forests & woodlands, Canyons & caves, Freshwater swamps, marshes & bogs, Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Meadows & fields, Cities, suburbs & towns.

Range Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, California, Plains, Western Canada.