Description 3 - 3 3/4" Pale
cream with bold, broad black stripes
and black borders above; HW borders
spotted with cream, blue, and pale to
Wings less brightly colored below,
with distinctive dark veins. 1 long
black tail on each HW.
Life Cycle Egg chartreuse.
Caterpillar, to 1 3/4", soft green with
yellow and black eyespot patterns.
Chrysalis barklike, dark brown
streaked with black.
Preferred host plants mostly in
buckthorn family, including mountain
lilac and mountain balm. Also
holly-leaf cherry and coffeeberry in
California, and alders.
Flight 1 brood; late
spring-midsummer, varying with
latitude and altitude.
Habitat Mountainous or hilly
country with broadleaf scrub or
chaparral, dry slopes, canyons, and
roads; ocean bluffs in Northwest, sea
level to timberline.
Range British Columbia and
Montana south to New Mexico and
Baja California; and in Cascades,
Sierra Nevada, Coast Ranges, and
Rockies. Absent from drier, hotter
parts of basins and deserts.
Discussion Less numerous than
other tigers, the Pale Tiger Swallowtail
occurs widely throughout the West. It
tends to fly rapidly in complex patterns
between buckthorn bushes.
Unlike its yellow relatives, it does not
course up and down canyons all day
but rather seeks hilltops. It takes
nectar from mints, thistles, and
buckeyes. Males settle more often on
damp earth, sometimes in great