Palamedes Laurel Swallowtail - Papilio palamedes

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Palamedes Laurel Swallowtail Papilio palamedes

Laurel Swallowtail is also called Laurel Swallowtail.


Eggs are laid one at a time on leaves of their host trees. Host trees include red bay, swamp bay, silk bay, sassafras, and spicebush.


Young caterpillars are brown and white. Spicebush caterpillars have brown on the end of their abdomen. Palamedes have a cream or white tip of their abdomen.


Caterpillars turn green in later instars. They have one set of eyespots. Spicebush swallowtail cateprillars have two sets of eyespots. Their osmeterium are yellow.


A day before pupating, the caterpillar starts to change color. It becomes slightly yellow. It will crawl with a jerky motion when it is ready to find a place to pupate.


A chrysalis or pupa will be either green or rusty colored. If it pupates on something green, it will be green. If it pupates on something dark, it will be rusty colored. This camouflage works well to hide the chrysalis from predators.


Adult females have blue spots on the top of the bottom of their hindwings. The butterfly drinking nectar from the pink flower, above left, is a female. Click to enlarge the photo for a better look at her scales and blue spots. Male abdomens are narrower and have a sharp pointed tip. Female abdomens are thicker and have blunt ends. Butterflies can become very tattered and lose quite a few scales and still be healthy and able to fly well. The butterfly below was caught in teh wild, photographed, and released to fly away.

A Palamedes butterfly can drink from flowers with a deep throat. The proboscis is long enough to reach the nectar in flowers with a deep throat.