Get to Know Your State Symbols – The Black Swallowtail Butterfly

by Alice Magdziak • January 15, 2016 • Newsy Jersey, Third StateComments (0)1995

It was kind of disappointing to learn that I missed hearing about this for four weeks. Last month, the NJ State Assembly voted 68-0 to make the Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) the state’s official butterfly. I’ve been slowly covering all the state symbols and I would have been thrilled to learn that a brand new one was coming online.

Anyway, we can still celebrate this beautiful butterfly!

The Black Swallowtail beat out the tiger swallowtail, great spangled fritillary and Hessel’s hairstreak to be made state butterfly.

The female is shown above.  Below is the male.


photo courtesy of D. Gordon E. Robertson,

It’s caterpillar is called the Parsley Caterpillar because it feeds on parsley to grow.  So, if you see a caterpillar on your garden’s parsley plants next summer, let it feed. It’s the New Jersey state butterfly in the making!

Thanks to for catching me up: Unfluttering support for native Jerseyan; accessibility gives black swallowtail the edge as N.J.’s official butterfly

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