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.

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.

Scientific Classification

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


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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