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Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar

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The insistence on feeding primarily on Lauraceae has its advantages for spicebush swallowtails. They are able to feed two to four times more adeptly and efficiently on Lauraceae than P. glaucus on the same plant, for example, who feed on Lauraceae as well as other types of plants. In addition, there has not been any other Lepidoptera species which feeds as efficiently as the P. troilus on spicebush. However, none of the host plants of Papilio troilus occur throughout the full range of the spicebush swallowtail. As stated above, the P. t. ilioneus strain, found in Florida, mostly feeds on redbay, while P. t. troilus feeds on either sassafras or spicebush. In a study, it was found that those spicebush swallowtails that normally feed on redbay did not grow as well on spicebush or sassafras during the first instar of development, while all insects studied grew better throughout the larval period on sassafras or spicebush. In addition, the P. t. ilioneus strain was typically larger in size than the P. t. troilus.

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