ASSEMBLY, No. 2913







Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  MARLENE CARIDE

District 36 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  RONALD S. DANCER

District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)

Assemblyman  ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)


District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)


Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Gusciora, Mukherji and Singleton






     Designates Black Swallowtail butterfly as State Butterfly.



     As introduced.


An Act designating the Black Swallowtail butterfly as the New Jersey State Butterfly, and supplementing chapter 9A of Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.


Whereas, The Black Swallowtail butterfly is one of the most familiar and most studied butterflies in North America, and is widely admired for its beauty; and

Whereas, The Black Swallowtail is indigenous to New Jersey, and can be found in each of the State’s 21 counties; and

Whereas, The Black Swallowtail is a large, black butterfly with two rows of yellow spots near the margins of its forewings and hindwings, and more subtle red-orange and blue markings on its hindwings; and

Whereas, Adult Black Swallowtails have a wingspan of up to four inches, with females typically larger than males with an iridescent blue band between the yellow bands while the male has a more pronounced yellow band on the hindwings with a blue cloud under it; and

Whereas, The Black Swallowtail’s mature caterpillar is smooth and green, marked with black bands and bright yellow spots, and is familiar to gardeners throughout the State; and

Whereas, The Black Swallowtail can be seen in New Jersey between the months of April and October, and is most active between May and July with its chrysalis overwintering in New Jersey; and

Whereas, Habitats of the Black Swallowtail are generally open areas like wetlands, fields, flat-woods, pine savannahs, farms, and gardens; and 

Whereas, The Black Swallowtail is attracted to a variety of cultivated herbs like celery, dill, parsley, and sweet fennel, as well as wild herbs like Golden Alexanders and Queen Anne’s lace, all  of which grow in New Jersey; and

Whereas, The Black Swallowtail is non-destructive to commercial agriculture, and pollinates many cultivated flowers and crops; and

Whereas, The ease with which Black Swallowtails can be raised from egg to adult during the school year will provide generations of school children exciting opportunities to learn about butterfly life cycles and expand their awareness of pollinators and the critical role they play in our food supply; and

Whereas, Many states across the country have designated an official State butterfly to accompany their other State symbols, but New Jersey, despite its great wealth of indigenous butterflies, has never made such a designation; and

Whereas, The Black Swallowtail is a fitting and proper addition to New Jersey’s other State symbols; and

Whereas, By designating the Black Swallowtail as the State butterfly, the State government recognizes the vital roll played by butterflies and other pollinators in the State’s agricultural industry and the ecosystem; now, therefore,

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


     1.    The Black Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) is designated as the New Jersey State Butterfly.


     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.





     This bill designates the Black Swallowtail butterfly as the official State Butterfly of New Jersey. This large, black, yellow and blue butterfly is indigenous to New Jersey and can be found in each of the State’s 21 counties. The Black Swallowtail is both beautiful and beneficial, pollinating many cultivated flowers and crops. For generations to come, New Jersey school children can raise Black Swallowtails and other butterflies in their classrooms as they have done for years, thus gaining a valuable appreciation for natural science. By designating a State butterfly, New Jersey joins a majority of states that have made such a designation. It also recognizes the important role that butterflies and other pollinators play in agriculture and the ecosystem.