giant swallowtail

(Papilio cresphontes)

Conservation Status
giant swallowtail
Photo by Phil Wala
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Giant swallowtail is a large swallowtail butterfly. It is the largest butterfly in North America north of Mexico.

Adults have a wingspan of 4 to 6¼.

The upper side of the wings are dark brown, almost black. There are two bands of bright yellow spots, a subapical band and a basal band. The two bands cross near the tips of the forewings, forming an irregular “X” shape. The is an orange spot and blue scale on the inner margin. The hind wings have “tails” with a large, yellow spot.

The underside of the forewing is dark brown with two bands of pale yellow spots large enough to make the wing appear mostly pale yellow. The underside of the hind wing is mostly pale yellow with a median band of orange spots and blue scales.

The body is pale yellow.

The caterpillar is shiny dark brown with three white spots, mimicking a fresh bird dropping.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Wingspan: 4 to 6¼

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Open woodlands, fields, hillsides near streams.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two broods: early May, and late June through August.

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Females lay single eggs on the leaves of host plants.

It overwinters as a chrysalis.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

In Minnesota, common hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata ssp. trifoliata) and northern prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum).

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 30, 71.

 
  8/15/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Rare stray to Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Papilionoidea (butterflies [excluding skippers])  
 

Family

Papilionidae (swallowtails)  
 

Subfamily

Papilioninae (swallowtails)  
 

Tribe

Papilionini (fluted swallowtails)  
  Subtribe    
 

Genus

   
  Subgenus    
       
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

giant swallowtail

orange dog (caterpillar)

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Chrysalis

The pupa (third) stage of a butterfly or moth during which the caterpillar metamorphoses into an adult. In moths, the pupa is enclosed in a silk cocoon. In butterflies, the pupa is naked but protected by a hardened outer shell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
Visitor Photos
   

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Sara Nagel
       

Enjoying the Phlox

  giant swallowtail   giant swallowtail
       
  giant swallowtail    
       
Alfredo Colon
       

Butterly and details.

  giant swallowtail   giant swallowtail
       
  giant swallowtail    
       
Margot Avey
       
  giant swallowtail    
       
Deb Mowry
       

A surprise in my zinnia garden

  giant swallowtail    
       
Norm & Peg Dibble
       

Giant Swallowtail last Summer 2018

  giant swallowtail    
       
Chris Mosley
       

This lovely butterfly floated around our front yard, and stopped long enough in the sunshine for me to take a photo (admittedly, a phone shot), then floated away again

  giant swallowtail    
       
Candice Christensen
       
  giant swallowtail  
       
Jason
       

Amazing color. HUGE compared to the other moths and butterflies in the garden.

  giant swallowtail    
       
Elizabeth Welty
       
  giant swallowtail    
       
Phil Wala
       
  giant swallowtail    
       
Tom Baker
       
  giant swallowtail   giant swallowtail
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
  giant swallowtail    
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Giant Swallowtail
DianesDigitals
 
  Giant Swallowtail  
 
About

Copyright DianesDigitals

Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes

 
     
  Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)
Allen Chartier
 
  Papilio cresphontes (Giant Swallowtail)  
     
  Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)  
     
  Giant Swallowtail
jt893x
 
  Giant Swallowtail  
     
  Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
tomb0171
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Feb 18, 2011

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

* Family: Papilionidae,
* Genus: Papilio,
* Species: P. cresphontes,
* Phylum: Arthropoda,
* Class: Insecta,
* Order: Lepidoptera,
* Type: Bugs,
* Diet: Omnivore,
* Average life span in the wild: Several weeks to several years,
* Size: adults wingspan is about 100--160 mm (3.9--6.3 in),
* Weight: no data

** Papilio cresphontes is a swallowtail butterfly common in various parts of North America, particularly the south and east.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_sw...

 
     

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
   

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Kirsten Avraamides
       
  giant swallowtail 02
8/9/2020
 
   
 
About

giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Coon Rapids, MN
8/9/2020
Spent a lot of time in the Phlox. Has very fast beating of wings.
Video by Kirsten Avraamides

   
       
Candice Christensen
       
  giant swallowtail 01
Published on Aug 14, 2018
 
   
 
About

Kasson, Dodge County

In the phlox garden

   
       
       
Other Videos
 
  Schmetterling Papilio cresphontes
Chrigu wälti
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 11, 2012

Schmetterling Papilio cresphontes

http://www.Tierportraet.ch

   
       
  The Osmeterium of the Swallowtail Butterfly Larva(Papilio cresphontes)
texrednface
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 8, 2009

"The Osmeterium" of the Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio cresphontes) is a defense organ. The red "y-shaped" osmeterium extends when the larva is irritated. It emits a strong odor to repel some predators. Dr. J. W. Holloway demonstrates by stimulating the larva with a pair of blunt scissors. This larva was not harmed during the making of this video. ©2009 Dr. J. W. Holloway

   
       
  Almost tame Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio cresphontes)
Manfred Keller
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 12, 2012

The Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) is a swallowtail butterfly common in various parts of North America and marginally into South America (Colombia and Venezuela only). In the United States and Canada it is mainly found in the south and east. With a wingspan of about 10--16 cm (3.9--6.3 in) it is the largest butterfly in Canada and the United States.This Giant gorgeous creature is even 7.8 inches wide. It slept in our backyard in Texas and was still there the next morning to say Hi

   
       
  Papilio cresphontes
felipe JDM
 
   
 
About

Published on Mar 9, 2013

No description available.

   
       
  GIANT Swallowtail Butterfly mineral siphoning and butterfly pee slow motion HD 1080p
GREENPOWERSCIENCE
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 25, 2011

http://greenpowerscience.com/

This Papilio Cresphontes is collecting minerals from the mud in our backyard. The Swallowtail Butterfly pees at 2:07

Casio EXILIM Pro EX-F1 at 300 fps

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

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Collette Adkins
7/25/2020

Location: Wild River State Park, along river trail

So big that at first I thought I was seeing two butterflies flying together


Sara Nagel
7/23/2020

Location: Mound, MN

Enjoying the Phlox

giant swallowtail


Alfredo Colon
9/29/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

giant swallowtail


Margot Avey
8/29/2019

Location: Ramsey, MN

giant swallowtail


Diane Flatz
8/24/2019

Location: SW of Annandale, MN

The first time I have seen this lovely butterfly. It flitted throughout my garden for quite a while visiting mostly phlox and hydrangeas.


Paula L. Savage
8/23/2019

Location: Independence, MN

First ever sighting in my yard.  On Meadow Blazing Star after it took over from Monarch.  Monarch flying around waiting for it to leave.


Joan O
8/21/2019

Location: Ham Lake, MN

we always have yellow swallowtails but I ve never seen one like this before. 


Melissa McMahon
8/19/2019

Location: Minnetrista, MN

I have lots of butterflies in my garden that I can identify or have seen before, but this was a first for me.  They are so big!  He was enjoying the phlox and balloon flowers in my garden this afternoon.


Deb Mowry
7/30/2019

Location: Olmsted

A surprise in my zinnia garden

giant swallowtail


Norm & Peg Dibble
Summer 2018

Location: Maple Grove, MN

giant swallowtail


MuckStar
8/26/2018

Location: Southwest Minneapolis

Flying into a stiff southern breeze, heading toward the phlox along the driveway.


Diane
8/13/2018

Location: Saint Paul

I did not see the butterfly, but I had 7 eggs, and now 7 little caterpillars on my rue plant. First time ever!


Chris Mosley
8/10/2018

Location: 6 miles south of Prior Lake in Scott County

This lovely butterfly floated around our front yard, and stopped long enough in the sunshine for me to take a photo (admittedly, a phone shot), then floated away again

giant swallowtail


Rebecca Johnson
8/9/2018

Location: Wyoming, MN

Feeding on coral colored phlox


Candice Christensen
8/6/2018

Location: White Bear Lake. Ramsey County, MN

giant swallowtail


William Thomas
7/28/2018

Location: near Miesville MN

Observed three giant swallowtails at one time in garden at Pioneer Village!


Jerry Fruetel
7/22/2018

Location: Bloomington, MN

I took photos for several minutes of this swallowtail on my purple coneflowers. At one point, it sat beside a monarch on the same flower.


Jason
6/10/2018

Location: Lake Elmo

Amazing color. HUGE compared to the other moths and butterflies in the garden.

giant swallowtail


Marlene
8/14 to 8/27//2017

Location: Brooklyn Park, Mn

What a sight to see! My first encounter...loved those moments...Wow!


Kathryn Rudd
On my birthday! August 28

Location: Eagan, Mn

Stayed a long time feeding from my lantana


Janis
8/22/2017

Location: Saint Charles, MN

Beautiful! Large dusty brown/black with soft yellow markings seen in my flower beds on geranium and petunia blooms


Carol
8/6/2016

Location: Albertville. MN, south side of Cedar Creek Golf Course

Fantastic! Amazing sunny day. It was eating nectar from my hanging baskets of petunias.


Elizabeth Welty
7/22/2016

Location: Stillwater, MN

giant swallowtail


Robert
8/10/2014

Location: South Minneapolis near 40th and 40th

11:30 AM


Phil Wala
8/4/2014

Location: Savage, MN

Seen in our wooded backyard in Savage around noon on 8/4/14.

giant swallowtail


Tom Baker
8/3/2011

 

giant swallowtail


     
     
 
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