Joellen Murray

Written by Joellen Murray

Modified & Updated: 06 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, scientifically known as Papilio canadensis, is a stunning insect that can be found fluttering through the forests and meadows of Canada. With its vibrant orange and black wings, this butterfly is a true beauty of nature. In this article, we will explore 11 fascinating facts about the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, shedding light on its habitat, appearance, behavior, and more. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a butterfly lover, or simply curious about the wonders of the animal kingdom, this article will take you on a journey to discover the wonders of this magnificent butterfly species. So, let’s dive in and uncover the intriguing world of the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly!

Key Takeaways:

  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies have a wingspan of 8-10 cm and are known for their vibrant yellow wings with bold black stripes, making them a stunning sight in Canadian landscapes.
  • These butterflies play a crucial role in pollination and are vulnerable to climate change, making it important to understand and protect their habitats for their preservation.
Table of Contents

Magnificent Wingspan

The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail boasts an impressive wingspan of approximately 8 to 10 centimeters, making it one of the larger butterfly species in the region.

Striking Appearance

With its vibrant yellow wings adorned with bold black stripes, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is a sight to behold. The contrast of colors is truly mesmerizing.

Dimorphic Species

Male and female Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies have distinct differences in appearance. While males have more prominent black stripes, females display a softer grayish pattern on their wings.

Wide Distribution

The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail can be found in various parts of Canada, ranging from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador. They are also commonly spotted in the northern parts of the United States.

Habitat Preference

These butterflies thrive in a variety of habitats, including forests, meadows, gardens, and parks. They are particularly attracted to flowers and are often seen hovering around blooming plants.

Expert Nectar Feeders

The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail primarily feeds on the nectar of flowers such as milkweed, thistle, and honeysuckle. They play an important role in pollination as they transfer pollen from one flower to another.

Migration Patterns

While some populations of Canadian Tiger Swallowtails are migratory, others remain in the same location throughout the year. The migratory butterflies travel in search of suitable breeding grounds and food sources.

Life Cycle

Similar to other butterfly species, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail undergoes a complete metamorphosis. They start as eggs, hatch into caterpillars, form chrysalises, and finally emerge as adult butterflies.

Defensive Mechanisms

When threatened by predators, Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies have various defense tactics. They can flash their bright wings to startle predators or release a foul-tasting chemical from their bodies.

Important Pollinators

As they visit flowers in search of nectar, Canadian Tiger Swallowtails unintentionally transfer pollen. This helps in the pollination process, contributing to the reproduction of many plant species.

Vulnerable to Climate Change

Climate change poses a significant threat to the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail population. Alterations in temperature and precipitation patterns can disrupt their life cycles and habitat availability.

The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is a remarkable butterfly species that adds vibrant beauty to the Canadian landscape. Understanding their ecology and conservation needs is crucial for their preservation. Keep an eye out for these stunning creatures fluttering gracefully through meadows and gardens!


In conclusion, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterfly is a fascinating species that can be found across Canada. From its vibrant appearance to its unique behaviors, there is much to discover about these beautiful creatures. With their distinct wing patterns and preference for wildflowers, they bring joy to nature enthusiasts and researchers alike. By attracting them to gardens and conserving their natural habitats, we can help ensure their survival for future generations to enjoy. So next time you spot a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterfly fluttering by, take a moment to appreciate the wonder and beauty of this remarkable species.


1. Where can I find Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies?

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies can be found throughout Canada, from the Atlantic provinces to the Pacific coast.

2. What do Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies eat?

The caterpillars of Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies feed on the leaves of various trees, such as birch, willow, and poplar. The adult butterflies primarily feed on nectar from a wide range of flowering plants.

3. How long do Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies live?

The average lifespan of a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterfly is around two to four weeks, although this can vary depending on environmental factors and predation risks.

4. Are Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies harmful to humans or crops?

No, Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies are harmless to humans and do not cause any significant damage to crops. They play an important role in pollination and are considered beneficial insects.

5. How can I attract Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies to my garden?

You can attract Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies to your garden by planting nectar-rich flowers such as milkweed, asters, coneflowers, and butterfly bush. Providing a water source and creating a diverse habitat with a mix of sun and shade will also help attract them.

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