Facts about Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly, "Scientific name for Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly is Protographium Marcellus" Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly are swallowtail butterflies native to the southeast Canada and eastern United States. The Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly can be identified easily by their black and white striped pattern that is reminiscent of a zebra together with their distinctive long tails and wing shape. The Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly is associated with pawpaw trees, and is always found near these trees. The black or green caterpillars feed on pawpaw leaves, while the adult Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly feed on flower nectars and minerals especially from damp soil.
The Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly has greenish-white wings with black longitudinal stripes. The wingspan is 2.5 to 4.1 inches (6.4 to 10.4 cm). It has pair of sword like tails that extend from its hind wings. There are red spots near the inner margin of their hind wings and a red stripe running along the middle of its ventral hind wing. Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly have two seasonal forms; one in spring and one in summer. Its spring forms are small and whiter with short, black tails having white tips. Its summer forms are large and blacker with broad black stripes, and have long, black tails having white tips.
Female Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly fly slowly when looking for a suitable host plant. Male Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly always patrol near the host plants to find females. The males fly swiftly and directly, 2 to 6 ft (0.5 to 1.8 meters) above the ground. Both female Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly and males frequently visit flowers from the families Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Polemoniaceae, and Rosaceae. The males participate in puddling (a behavior in which they congregate on moist soil, gravel, or sand to obtain amino acids and salts). Amino acids and salts are very important minerals to male Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly, aiding them in reproduction. Other foods for Zebra Swallowtail butterflies include urine and rotting fruit.
Female P. Marcellus lays eggs singly on the leaves of pawpaw trees or on the trunks. This is because the caterpillar is cannibalistic. The eggs are round and pale green, but later turn to orange-brown in color. Young larvae are black and have lighter transverse stripes while older larvae have 2 color forms: green form and black form. Green with white and yellow transverse stripes is the common form. Black form is rarer and is banded with white and orange. The larvae use osmeterium (a yellow, foul-smelling gland) to deter predators, such as ants and spiders. The other major predatorof the Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly is birds. The chrysalises are either brown or green, and have three small horns projected from their head and thorax. The chrysalises hibernate in areas within their range and with cold winters.
The caterpillars commonly feed on species of pawpaw of the genus Asimina. They include Slimleaf Pawpaw, Woolly Pawpaw, Smallflower Pawpaw, Netted Pawpaw, Four-petal Pawpaw, and Common Pawpaw (A. triloba).
The Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly are usually seen from the month of February to December and from the month of March to August in the southern portion and in the northern portion of their range respectively. The butterflies have 3 to 4 broods in the south and 2 in the north. Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly are always found in areas with pawpaw trees. Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly are insects. A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly is a herbivore; Meaning that as a caterpillar its first food is its own eggshell and than it will eat the leaves of the plant on which it is hatched. When it becomes a Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly, it will feed mostly on nectar from flowers, rotting fruit and water with a "proboscis" - a long narrow tube in their mouth that looks like a straw.
Life cycle of a butterfly comes in four stages, egg, larva "caterpillars", pupa "chrysalis" and adult Butterfly.
A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly will attach its eggs to leaves with a special glue.
When caterpillars become fully grown they will attach to an appropriate leaf or small branch, than they will shed the outside layer of their skin and a hard skin underneath known as a "chrysalis" will be their new look
An adult Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly will come out from the "chrysalis" than it waits a few hours for its wings to dry and fill with blood, before it takes its first flight.
Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly can see yellow, green, and red. An adult butterfly average life span is from a week to a year
The top flight speed of a butterfly is 12 miles per hour and some moths can fly up to 25 miles per hour.
A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly is cold-blooded, which means the body temperature is not regulated on its own. A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly can't fly or eat if their body temperature is below 82 degrees fah (28 cel). Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly are often basking in the sun with their wings open to gain heat and than the veins in the wings carry the heat to the body.
A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly has sense organ, on their feet or tarsi, for tasting
The estimate is between 15000 and 20000 different species of butterfly.
A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly has a small body, made up of three parts – the head, abdomen and thorax. A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly has two large eyes, which are made up of many small parts which are called "compound eyes".
A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly has two antenna's on the top of their heads, which they use to smell, hear and feel. A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly mouth is a long tube a "proboscis" - a long narrow tube in their mouth that looks like a straw when its done eating, it rolls the tube back up.
A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly has three pairs of legs and their feet have little claws that help them stand on flowers. The Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly wings are made up of hard tubes that are covered with a thin tissue. The Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly wings are covered with fine dusty like scales. A Zebra Swallowtails Butterfly has four brightly colored wings having distinctive patterns made up of tiny scales. The bright patterns scales sometimes have hidden ultraviolet patterns for attracting mates. The bright colors are also used as camouflage to hide them or scare off predictors.