Home / Swallowtail (Papilionidae) / Oregon Swallowtail (Papilio oregonius)

Oregon Swallowtail (Papilio oregonius)

Oregon Swallowtail

The Oregon swallowtail is a very colorful and spectacular butterfly, and is a subspecies of popular swallowtail butterfly native to the United States. They are seen flying between April and September, abd can reproduce twice a year, except during the winter months.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Genus: Papilio
  • Scientific Name: Papilio oregonius

Description and Identification


Oregon Swallowtail Caterpillar

The larva is of a medium size with black and yellow markings. However, they begin turning more and more whiter, as they grow older.


Oregon Swallowtail Pupa

The chrysalis is dull or blackish green in color with the lower part divided into segments, with a single string of silk balancing the entire body with the lower tip as a support, attached to the branch of its host plant.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Not present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, they display concave spots with a bright orange-red eyespot close to the lower border. There are beige yellow markings and patterns on a black base on all the four wings, along with a characteristic tail common to all swallowtail butterflies. When the wings are closed, the underside shows almost a similar pattern like the upper side, but is mostly ruled by the beige coloration in a relatively fainter version.

Papilio oregonius
Oregon Swallowtail Butterfly

Average wingspan: 2.5 to 4 in (6.4 to 10 cm)

Flight pattern: Erratic flight pattern at a moderate speed


Dull reddish white in color, and laid one at a time on the host plant leaf

Quick Facts

Distribution Mainly in the US states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, but also in south-central British Columbia in Canada
Habitat Can be found along the lower sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its other tributaries
Lifespan of adults ‎6 to 14 days
Host plants Prefers dragon wormwood or wild tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Adult diet Flower nectar, mostly from thistles, purple sage, balsamroot, phlox, etc.

Did You Know?

  • In 1979, the butterfly was designated the official insect of the US state of Oregon and was also printed on a postage stamp of the country.
Swallowtail Butterfly Oregon
Oregon Swallowtail Butterfly Pictures
Oregon Swallowtail Images

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Genus: Papilio
  • Scientific Name: Papilio oregonius
Published by Avatar on March 13, 2019.
Last Updated: December 19, 2019. ✅ Verified by: Butterfly Team