Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) Butterfly

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Black Swallowtail 3Butterflies are both beautiful and important to our ecosystem. The Black Swallowtail is especially important to Michigan. It is found throughout the entire state and it is a permanent resident of Michigan. It does not leave in the winter as many butterflies do. The Black Swallowtail overwinters in Michigan as a pupa, making it a great butterfly for school groups to study. Each Black Swallowtail lives 2+ weeks, with 2-3 generations per year.

Butterflies contribute to thriving ecosystems and are great pollinators. Not only are they objects of beauty in our world but they are a source of food for birds, reptiles, mammals and other insects. Butterflies are harbingers of the fragility of life on our planet. They are particularly sensitive to changes in our environment from the use of harmful pesticides and the loss natural habitat areas.

The Mission of Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc. is to promote environmental responsibility. We celebrate the presence and value of butterflies; particularly, our full-time resident butterfly, the Black Swallowtail.

For more information, Contact:
Chris Lapinski

Educational Resources:
Lesson Plan
Black Swallowtail Brochure
NGC Booklet on Butterflies

Legislative Action:

Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc. supports Senate Bill 850, making the Black Swallowtail the State Butterfly of Michigan. This Bill was introduced in the Michigan Senate on March 8, 2016 and was referred on March 8, 2016 to the Government Operations Committee for action. All Michigan Garden Club members and their associates are encouraged to write to their senators and request support of Senate Bill 850.

Forty-seven of the 50 states have an official state butterfly, state insect, or both. Michigan does not. Michigan Garden Clubs believes that Michigan should join those states that celebrate the presence and value of butterflies by passing Senate Bill 850 and designating the Black Swallowtail as the official State Butterfly of Michigan. Additional information and updates on this process are available in the links below.

Legislation Plan:
E-mail blast from Marilyn McIntosh (Michigan Garden Club President)
Model Letter for Writing your State Senator 
Alphabetical listing of Senators

Susan Leahy, Legislation Chair
Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc.