Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) Butterfly

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.

Join the suffragettes and vote for the Black Swallowtail as Michigan’s official state butterfly at this site:

Vote Here for the Black Swallowtail

Male Black Swallowtail

For more information, Contact:
Nancy Smith

Educational Resources:
Lesson Plan
Black Swallowtail Brochure
Black Swallowtail Power Point Presentation
NGC Booklet on Butterflies
Butterfly Wand Front
Black Swallowtail Wand Back
Black Swallowtail Butterfly Coloring Sheet
Photos of the Black Swallowtail

Girl Scout Opportunity:
Michigan Garden Club members partnered with local girl scouts recently on a project that others may want to do. In a quest to earn their Inside Government Badge local girl scouts joined Michigan Garden Club members at the local indoor Farmers Market to educate the public about the importance of pollinators in our environment and to support Senate SB 167 making the Black Swallowtail the official State of Michigan Butterfly. Did you know that 47 of the 50 states have a state butterfly, state insect or both? Unfortunately, Michigan is not one of them. We think Michigan should join those states that celebrate the presence and value of butterflies by passing SB 167 making the Black Swallowtail the official state of Michigan butterfly.
Steps of Girl Scout and MGC Partnership

Legislative Action:
Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc. supports SB 167, making the Black Swallowtail the State Butterfly of Michigan. This Bill was introduced in the Michigan Senate on April 18, 2017 and was referred on April 18, 2017 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 SB 167.  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 SB 167 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:
MGC Black Swallowtail Summary
Model Letter for Writing your State Senator
Model Letter for Writing your State Senator (blank)
Look up your Senator here

Letters of Support:
Representative Eric Leutheuser
Senator Mike Green
Robert E. Grese Director Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Brenda Dziedzic Co-founder and past President of Southeast Michigan Butterfly Association
Green Thumb Master Gardeners
Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood
Susan Leahy, Legislation Chair
Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc.