New Jersey Butterflies

Zebra Swallowtail

Eurytides marcellus

Identification: Large—3.1" (smaller than Eastern Tiger Swallowtail). Above: FW and HW striking near-white with black stripes. Below: Black and near-white stripes set off with a vivid red stripe on HW. The longest tails of any NJ swallowtail.

NJ Status and Distribution: Nonresident. Primarily a southern species that in NJ occurs only as a stray. Six recent records: Essex County, 2000; Delaware Water Gap NRA, Sussex County, 7/2/04; Monmouth County, 9/26/06 and 7/3/12; Cape May County, 7/28/14; and 8/19/15, Essex County.

NJ Range Map-Zebra Swallowtail

Habitat: Open, sunny, upland fields and wet meadows with lots of flowers.

Flight Period: Any strays that reach our area are likely to do so in summer.

Larval Food Plants: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), which is a very rare tree along the Delaware River in central NJ. Zebra Swallowtails found in NJ are undoubtedly strays from the south, where the foodplant is much more abundant.

Overwintering Stage: Pupa, but does not overwinter in NJ.

Best Locations: None, but it would be interesting to look along the Delaware River in locations like Bulls Island RA where Pawpaw used to grow (and perhaps still does).

Comments: It is the lucky butterflier indeed who comes across this spectacular beauty in NJ.

Zebra Swallowtail

Shannondale, WV, 4/18/10.

Zebra Swallowtail

Fort Indiantown Gap, PA, 7/4/10, on Orange Milkweed.