Alberta, Canada
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Anise Swallowtail
Papilio zelicaon
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General Description

By Nora Bryan

The Anise Swallowtail can be found across the southern half of Alberta, including the mountains. The best place to find the Anise Swallowtail is on hilltops in summer, where males patrol for females. Like the more common Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, the Anise might be found visiting garden flowers. You might find them out and about from spring through late summer.

This beautiful swallowtail is smaller than the more common Canadian Tiger Swallowtail with a wingspan of 52 to 80 mm (2 to over 3 in.). The black band near the trailing wing edge is wide and there is more black against the body and leading wing edge than in the Canadian Tiger. A well-formed black eyespot in the middle of the red spots near the ‘tails’ is also diagnostic. There is a rare black form.

The equally distinctive caterpillars start out life looking more like bird droppings than anything else. As they mature, they become large and green with black stripes and orange and yellow spots. Swallowtail caterpillars have a distinctive protective mechanism called an osmaterium. This yellow forklike gland, when everted (extended from within) has a very disagreeable odor - enough to put a would-be predator off its appetite.

The caterpillars feast on members of the Carrot Family, particularly Cow Parsnip and Angelica.

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Where to find Anise Swallowtails in Alberta   

There is currently no information regarding this species in our Where & When database.

Anise Swallowtail Behaviour   

No observations regarding Anise Swallowtail behavior have been submitted to the database yet.

Interesting Facts about Anise Swallowtails   

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Anise Swallowtail Stories from our Readers   

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Recent Anise Swallowtail Reports in Alberta


No. Location Reporter Date
1 Town of Brooks round 2009/07/17
1 Town of Brooks round 2009/06/26
1 Town of Brooks round 2009/05/30
1 Weaselhead/Glenmore Pk Yaki 2003/06/30
1 Weaselhead/Glenmore Pk Johner 2002/06/22

Anise Swallowtail Hotspots in Alberta

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