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Insects and other arthropods

Canadian tiger swallowtail

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Papilio canadensis

Tabs group

Description

This butterfly’s wingspan is between 6.7 and 8 cm. It has yellow wings with black stripes and black edges. Blue, yellow and orange spots can be seen along the border of its back wings. There is a yellow stripe all along the border of its back wings.

Life cycle

Once her eggs have been fertilized, the female lays them separately on leaves of the host plant. The larvae that hatch from the greenish eggs look like bird droppings. Their appearance is the same during the first two larval stages, after which the caterpillar takes on a green colouring. Its head has two spots that look like orange and black eyes. A yellow stripe runs around the caterpillar’s body behind its false eyes. Its cuticle splits open and the chrysalid emerges to spend the winter on its branch. Its brownish colour camouflages it until the adult emerges in the spring. There is one generation of this species per year.

Geographic distribution

This insect can be seen throughout Canada up to Newfoundland and south of the border until just north of the tree line. The species is very common in southern Quebec and northwards.

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