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Anise Swallowtail

Papilio zelican
Photo Source: http://www.faroutflora.com/tag/pipevine-swallowtail/

Habitat: The Anise Swallowtail can be found throughout Alberta and depending on the weather, out of the pupa stage as early as late April continuing on until mid-August. It is primarily a forest butterfly but can sometimes be found in the prairies and in alpine regions.

Description: This butterfly comes in two colour forms, the typical yellow colour and a black version.  The best way to distinguish this butterfly from other Swallowtails is the round eye spot that can be found on the red patch of the hind wing.

Size: 65-80 mm

Diet: This butterfly loves dandelions and the caterpillars eat solely from the carrot family like fennel and anise.  Hence the name.

Fun Facts: In the first half of their larval stage, the larva look just like bird droppings.  Now that’s camouflage!


Acorn, John. Butterflies of Alberta. Edmonton: Lone Pine Publishing, 1993. Print

Mitchell, Robert, and Herbert S. Zim. Butterflies and Moths. Racine: Western Publishing Company Inc.,1987. Print

area wildlife + plants

Common Dandelion
Tarasacum officinale
Lance or spoon shaped leaves at the base of plant.  Deep green in color.  Single headed, yellow flowers 30-50mm across.
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