Palamedes Swallowtail

Papilio palamedes

Summary 5

The Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes sometimes called the Laurel Swallowtail) is the most common Swallowtail at the GTM.

Description 6

The upper side of the wings is blackish-brown with both wings having a yellow postmedian band and a yellow submarginal band. There is a yellow bar at the end of the forewing cell. The underside of the wings is black with the forewing having a yellow postmedian band and a yellow submarginal band. The hind wing has a few colored bands; the first being cream; the second, orange; the third, blue; and the fourth, orange. There is a yellow streak on the inner margin of the hind wing which runs parallel to the body. The wingspan ranges from 4½ to 5⅛ inches.

Larva Description 5

The larva is green with two false eye spots on the thorax. It has a few blue spots on the first abdominal segment to the eighth segment. It also lives in a leaf shelter. (The larva is almost identical to the caterpillar of the Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) except the Spicebush Swallowtail larva has larger false eyes, and larger blue spots.

Larval host plant 7

In Florida the larval host plant of the Palamedes Swallowtail is Red Bay (Persea borbonia).

GTM Occurrence 7

The Palamedes Swallowtail is considered common at the GTM and the most common species of swallowtail. It occurs along all transects and is most abundant along the Red Bay Walk (Transect D). This would be expected as the larval host plant is Red Bay. It is present from February to October with peak flights in March and April and June to September. There have been 383 specimens observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 7

Palamedes Swallowtail is most abundant in the southeastern U.S. from southern Virginia to Florida and west to Texas.

Habitat 5

This species may be found in habitats such as cypress swamplands, coastal swamplands, wet riparian forests, bay forests, and savannas.

Nature serve conservation status 8

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: A common characteristic species of the southern coastal plain lowlands now, however a potentially serious to catastrophic threat has emerged since about 2002, namely a beetle-fungus combination that is killing the primary foodplant and may prove lethal to all foodplants or all Lauraceae possibly range wide. The best case scenario is probably periodic major reductions followed by recovery if new redbay plants mature perhaps only in parts of the range (it is not known how far north this threat will extend). The worst case scenario would be extinction in the next decade or two.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Bill Swindaman, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  2. (c) cotinis, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  3. (c) Mary Keim, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  4. (c) Richard Crook, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  5. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  6. (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  7. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  8. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),

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