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Papilio polyxenes asterius (Stoll, 1782)
(Black Swallowtail)

Type Specimens
photo collection:

Pinned Specimens
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Pinned Specimens
photo collection Page 2:

Live Adults photo collection
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Live Adults photo collection
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Live Adults photo collection
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Live Adults photo collection
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photo collection Page 1:

photo collection Page 2:

Larval Foodplants and Habitats photo collection:

Distribution and Larval Foodplants:

Canada, E USA, S to El Salvador


(From: A Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada, Jonathan P. Pelham)

Genus Papilio Linnaeus, 1758

Syst. Nat. (ed. 10) 1: 458. Type-species: Papilio machaon Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat. (ed. 10) 1: 462, no. 27, by designation of Latreille (1810), Consid. gén. Anim. Crust. Arach. Ins.: 350, 440. I.C.Z.N. Opinion 278 placed this name on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology as name no. 703. The generic and subgeneric arrangement follows J. Miller (1987), Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 186(4): 365-512.


Papilio polyxenes Fabricius, 1775

Syst. Entomol.: 444-445, no. 10.

Original Combination: P[apilio]. E[ques]. T[rojanus]. Polyxenes

Type Locality: “America”; further defined as “Americae meridionali insulis” by Fabricius (1781), Spec. Ins. 2: 4, no. 13; defined as “Cuba” by Rothschild and Jordan (1906), Novit. Zool. 13(3): 547.

Types: Type(s) probably lost.


Papilio polyxenes asterius (Stoll, 1782)

Uitl. Kapellen 4(33): 194-196, pl. 385, figs. C ♂ D, D ♂ V; 4(34): 248 (index).

Original Combination: Pap[ilio]. Eq[ues]. Achiv[us]. Asterius

Type Locality: “Nord-Amerika en wordt in Niewjork, Virginien en Carolina” “l’Amerique Septentrionale, dans la Nouvelle York, en Virginie & dans la Caroline”

Types: Possible syntype in RNHL.

This is one of the species implied in Linnaeus' original description of Papilio ajax (see Eurytides marcellus), based on Petiver (1709), Gazophylacium: pl. 6, fig. 12.

                   =    ampliata Ménétriés, 1855

Enum. corp. anim. (1): 99-100, under no. 60.

Original Combination: [Papilio Asterias] var. Ampliata

Type Locality: “l’Amerique septentrionale”; suggested to be “Mexico” by Rothschild and Jordan (1906), Novit. Zool. 13(3): 545.

Types: Type(s) probably in ZIN.

                   =    calverleyi Grote, 1864

Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. 2(4): 441, pl. 10.

Original Combination: Papilio Calverleyi

Type Locality: “New York State...immediate neighborhood of the village of New Lots, Queen's County, Long Island”

Types: Holotype probably in CMNH; figured by W. Holland (1898), Butt. Book: pl. 41, fig. 6 ♀ D.

                   =    asterioides Reakirt, [1867]

Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. 18(3): 331-332, no. 27.

Original Combination: Papilio asterioides

Type Locality: “Mexico”

Types: Holotype (#7011) in ANSP.

                   =    curvifascia Skinner, 1902

Entomol. News 13(6): 183.

Original Combination: Papilio polyxenes var. curvifascia

Type Locality: “Rincon, New Mexico” [Dona Ana County]

Types: Syntype (#7026) in ANSP; a “paratype” figured by W. Holland (1931), Butt. Book (rev. ed.): pl. 70, fig. 12 ♂ D.

                   =    gracehus Fabricius, 1938

In: Bryk, Syst. Glossat.: 23, no. 18.

Original Combination: P[apilio]. T[rojanus]. Gracehus

Type Locality: “Philadelphia” [Philadlephia County, Pennsylvania]

Types: Location of type not known.

This name is probably a printer’s error for gracchus.

                         =    ‡”viridis” Cockerell, 1889

Entomol. 22(314): 199.

Original Combination: Papilio asterias var. pupae viridis

Type Locality: Not stated.

Types: No “type” designated (a variety of the pupa).

                         =    ‡”alunata” Skinner & E. Aaron, 1889

Can. Entomol. 21(7): 127-128.

Original Combination: P[apilio]. asterius, var. ♀ alunata

Type Locality: “Philadelphia, Pa.” implied from the title of the paper; “syntype” labeled from “Fairmont Park, Phila.” [Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania]

Types: “Syntype” (#7012) in ANSP.

                         =    ‡”mediocauda” Eimer, 1895

Artb. Verwandtsch. Schmett. 2: 118, 138.

Original Combination: Papilio mediocauda

Type Locality: “Canada”

Types: Location of type(s) not known.

This taxon was given a binomial combination, but the appended “♂” indicates an infrasubspecific name. It was listed as Papilio Asterias (P[apilio]. mediocanda) on page 118; an incorrect original spelling. This misspelling occurred in the list of figures given on the plates, and is a printers error judging from the derivation of the name. This taxon might represent P. brevicauda or P. polyxenes asterius.

                         =    ‡”semialba” Ehrmann, 1900

Can. Entomol. 32(11): 348.

Original Combination: Papilio asterias, Var. semi-alba ♂, nov. var.

Type Locality: “S. W. Penn’a.” [Pennsylvania]

Types: “Holotype” in CMNH; figured by W. Holland (1927), Ann. Carnegie Mus. 17(2): pl. 25, fig. 1 ♂ D.

                         =    ‡”masculina” Reiff, 1911

Z. wiss. InsektBiol. 7(7/8): 235.

Original Combination: [Papilio polyxenes] ab. masculina

Type Locality: Not stated.

Types: “Holotype” in MCZ (ex Bussey Institute).

                         =    ‡”ehrmanni” Ehrmann, 1925

Bull. Brooklyn Entomol. Soc. 20(2): 84.

Original Combination: Papilio ehrmanni n. ab. (of asterius)

Type Locality: “Hammet Place, Allegheny Co., Pa.” [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]

Types: “Holotype” in CMNH; figured by W. Holland (1927), Ann. Carnegie Mus. 17(2): pl. 25, fig. 2 ♂ D.

I treat this name as if proposed in the form “Papilio asterius ab. ehrmanni.”

                         =    ‡”gertrudis” Kruck, 1931

Entomol. Rdsch. 48(22): 236, fig. 2 ♂ D (“holotype”).

Original Combination: Pap[ilio]. asterius ab. gertrudis ab. nov.

Type Locality: “Mexiko-Süd, Dep. Oaxaca”

Types: “Holotype” in Kruck collection.

                         =    ‡”forsythae” Wood, 1937

Entomol. News 48(10): 273, pl. 4, ♂ D (“holotype”).

Original Combination: Papilio ajax forsythae new aberration

Type Locality: “Florida City, Florida” [Miami-Dade County]

Types: “Holotype” in AMNH.

                         =    ‡”pseudoamericus” F. Brown, [1943]

Entomol. News 53(10): 291.

Original Combination: [Papilio ajax race] pseudoamericus

Type Locality: “Troy, Illinois” [Madison County]

Types: “Holotype” in Meiners collection, St. Louis, Missouri.

The text clearly indicates that this taxon was described as an individual variant.

                         =    ‡”subamplicata” Dufrane, 1946

Bull. Annls. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 82(5/6): 106.

Original Combination: P[apilio]. polyxenes asterius f. subamplicata

Type Locality: “Temple, Pa. (E. U. A.)” [Berks County, Pennsylvania]

Types: “Holotype” probably in IRSN.



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