Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail

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Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail

Freshly emerged male

Description: 50-64 mm. This is a large swallowtail that is dark brown in color with rows oforange-yellow spots on the forwing, extending into the hindwing.  The tails are clubbed like other swallowtails and have a yellow spot in the middle. Ventral hindwing has rows of blue spots.

 

Habitat and Distribution: Pretty much anywhere citrus is grown in Florida and is a common butterfly throughout much of the United States, Central and South America. They frequent hardwood hammocks of the Keys

 

Host Plant: Citrus trees and "Wild Lime" (Xanthoxylum fagara) in the Keys.

 

Natural History: This is the most commonly seen swallowtail in the Keys. Adults can be found just about all year long in most of the Keys from Key Largo to Key West. They are easily spotted as they patrol hammock edges and are a pleasant sight when seen nectaring in a garden. Larvae look like bird or lizard droppings. When disturbed, larvae emit their osmeterium (red colored forked apendege behind the head) that smells terrible to potential predators

 

Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail
Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail

Final instar larva

Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail

Final instar larva

Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail

"J-possition" larva

Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail pup

Chrysalis

Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail larva

Freshly emerged male

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