Currently viewing the category: "swallowtails"
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Subject: Is this a Giant Swallowtail?
Location: Fullerton (Orange County) CA
July 31, 2014 8:20 am
Hello;
Here is a better photo of our overnight visitor. It landed on the night blooming jasmine at dusk yesterday and settled in for the night. To my surprise it is still there as of 8 a.m. It is quite large, at about 4″ across, warm black with striking yellow markings. When viewing from the kitchen window slightly above, there is a thin edge of yellow showing on the ‘shoulders’ so that it presents as a heart. It’s beautiful. Thank you for your wonderful website.
Signature: Likes Bugs

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail

Dear Likes Bugs,
You are correct that this is a Giant Swallowtail, a relatively recent resident of Southern California.  The Giant Swallowtail is native to the eastern portion of North America, but the caterpillars, known as Orange Dogs, adapted to feeding on the leaves of orange and other citrus trees, and as the cultivation of citrus spread west, the range of the Giant Swallowtail followed.  We believe they first appeared in Los Angeles in the 1990s.  According to the Los Angeles Times:  “The giant swallowtail butterfly,
Heraclides (Papilio) cresphontes, is native to the Southeast. Since the 1960s, populations have spread west following a corridor of suburban development and the species’ favorite larval food source — citrus — through Arizona, into the Imperial Valley, then San Diego and north to Orange and Los Angeles counties. They’ve been sighted as far north as Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.  Numbers have surged since 2000, says Jess Morton, president of the Palos Verdes-South Bay chapter of the Audubon Society. Members have held a butterfly count at the same location, on the first Sunday in July, every year since 1991. According to their records, a single giant swallowtail was first seen in the South Bay in 2000. They counted 23 in 2007.”  According to the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects:  “Ranges throughout most of the east;  more limited distribution in the southwest, but has expanded into the Los Angeles basin within the past 20 years.”

Thank you so much Daniel. We have two tangerine trees, a lemon, a grapefruit, a valencia orange, and two washington navel oranges on our 8,500 sf lot. So yes, there is lots of citrus here for the larvae.
I found it so interesting that it settled on the leaves, spread it’s wings and went to sleep. It took off when the sun hit it at about 9a this morning. It is the first of that kind I’ve seen here (northern inland hilly Orange County – warmer than the coast.)
The Monarchs on the other hand, are plentiful. We have many milkweed plants for them and they put on a show – photo attached.
Thank you again for your help!
Nancy Rennie

Monarch

Monarch

Hi again Nancy,
It is our observation that Monarchs seem more plentiful this year than they have in recent years.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mating Swallowtails
Location: New Cambria, Missouri
July 25, 2014 3:45 am
I took this photo yesterday of these two different (species?) of Swallowtails mating. Is this common? Can it result in viable offspring or a hybrid butterfly?
P.S. LOVE this website. It has been very informative.
Signature: Denise

Mating Tiger Swallowtails

Mating Tiger Swallowtails

Dear Denise,
The Tiger Swallowtails in your image are actually the same species.  The dark individual in the image is the female.  Though most female Tiger Swallowtails are yellow with black stripes, a small percentage of female Tiger Swallowtails are known as dark morphs, and even though the bold tiger striping is not evident, close inspection reveals a black on black striping pattern.  There are also examples of transitional coloration that fall between the light and dark morphs, and even more unusual are hermaphroditic gyandromorphs that contain traits of both sexes and which sometimes exhibit a combination of light male attributes and dark female attributes.  One final note, even without considering black morphs, Tiger Swallowtails are a sexually dimorphic species.  Female Tiger Swallowtails have blue dusting on the hindwings while male Tiger Swallowtails lack the blue coloration.  We are highlighting your posting on our scrolling feature bar. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: butterfly
Location: oman
July 4, 2014 7:12 am
Hi,
Could you please help me to find out what is the type of my butterfly?
Thanks a lot
Signature: Deren

Christmas Butterfly

Christmas Butterfly

Dear Deren,
Despite lacking tails on its hindwings, your butterfly is in the family Papilionidae, and most of the members of the family are commonly called Swallowtails.  Using the site Butterfly Corner, we have identified your butterfly as
Papilio demodocusa species commonly called Citrus butterfly, Orange Dog or Christmas Butterfly, though some of those common names are shared by other members of the genus.

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Remains of a Swallowtail Exuvia on Avocado Tree
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
June 29, 2014 12:13 PM
We noticed this shell of a Swallowtail Chrysalis in the avocado tree, and we tried to research which species of local Swallowtail has a caterpillar that will feed on the leaves of Avocado.  We have Western Tiger Swallowtails, Giant Swallowtails and Anise Swallowtails in the garden, but none of them feeds on avocado, to the best of our knowledge.  The only Swallowtail listed as eating avocado on the Easy Butterfly Garden website is the Magnificent Swallowtail,
Papilio garamus.  Perhaps this will remain a mystery.  Can the Magnificent Swallowtail have ventured this far north?  Here are additional images of the Magnificent Swallowtail from Animal PHotos.

Shell of a Swallowtail Chrysalis

Shell of a Western Tiger Swallowtail Chrysalis

Julian Donahue provides some input.
Hi Daniel,
The Spicebush Swallowtail is recorded as feeding on another species of Persea, but Tietz’s Index to Described Life Histories…. lists the only swallowtail feeding on Persea americana as Papilio rutulus, the Western Tiger Swallowtail. The BAMONA website doesn’t mention avocado as a hostplant.
Hope this helps,
Julian

The Western Tiger Swallowtails have been seen flying near that avocado tree.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterfly ID
Location: Tom McCall Preserve
June 1, 2014 8:24 am
These photos were all taken near Hood River, Oregon.
Signature: Randy Weatherford

Oregon Swallowtail

Male Oregon Swallowtail

Hi Randy,
Two of your butterflies are Swallowtails in the genus Papilio, and we are relatively certain one of them is a male Oregon Swallowtail,
Papilio machaon oregonius, a subspecies of the Old World Swallowtail, Papilio machaon, based on this and other images on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Distinguised from yellow form P. bairdii by having more extensive yellow, and by more northwesterly distribution.”  The other Swallowtail appears to be a female, and it is most likely also an Oregon Swallowtail.

Female Old World Swallowtail

Female Old World Swallowtail perhaps???

Daniel,
Could it be possible that the photo of the black and white butterfly be a “White Admiral”, or an admiral sub species.  I have seen many of the swallowtails, only one of the Admiral look a likes.
Thank you,
Randy

Hi Randy,
She is definitely a Swallowtail.  She is missing its tails, which might be throwing your perception off.  See this image on BugGuide of a female Old World Swallowtail, which is similar but not exactly like your individual.  The shape of the wings and the coloration of the body and wings is distinctly different from the White Admiral, though superficially similar.
  She may be an Indra Swallowtail, also pictured on BugGuide.

 

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Location: Northeast Mexico
May 16, 2014
Yes, I guess it wasn’t that caterpillar. A bird must have taken it or something. It kept coming back for that day, especially on the parsley. The first pictures is among the best I could get. It was the black swallowtail from here http://www.iwallpapersfive.com/eastern-black-swallowtail-butterfly-with-a-grateful-prayer-and-a-thankful-heart-eastern-black.html/eastern-black-swallowtail-butterfly-with-a-grateful-prayer-and-a-thankful-heart-eastern-black-2
Anyway, I later found a quite a few caterpillars on the parsley that look exactly like those of the eastern black swallowtail blog post, so maybe those will become that black and blue butterfly.
A couple of the caterpillars were good sized, some were very small, but they have all kept growing. Right now you can see many at different stages, here I send some pictures.
I found a chrysalis on a crate right by where I had found the first bigger caterpillar, the one that was possibly a tiger swallowtail, maybe that one will come out.
Signature: Alex

Female Black Swallowtail Ovipositing

Female Black Swallowtail Ovipositing

Hi Alex,
This definitely represents a different Swallowtail species than your previously submitted image.  This does appear to be a female Black Swallowtail (females have blue markings on wings) and she appears to be laying eggs.  The caterpillar does appear to be that of a Black Swallowtail feeding on parsley.  Since you are in Northeastern Mexico, it is entirely possible that you live within the range of the Black Swallowtail.
  Black Swallowtail Caterpillars are known as Parsley Worms.

Parsley Worm

Parsley Worm

Thank you Daniel! It’s been fun trying to keep up with all these bugs..

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination