what kind of butterfly is this?
September 19, 2009
my son took this wonerful picture of this butterfly in our backyard flower garden. i have never seen a butterfly like this one. maybe you could tell me what kind she is and how we can keep her coming back…
thanks, katy pierce
This is a Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes. In our Los Angeles garden, this species takes nectar from lantana. It is only in the past ten years that the Giant Swallowtail has expanded its range to include Los Angeles. The caterpillars, known as Orange Dogs, feed on the leaves of citrus trees, so having a larval food source in your yard will help ensure that the adult butterflies will also be present. According to BugGuide, the caterpillars also feed on the leaves of common pricklyash and common hoptree. Since the species is native to North America, those plants were the original foods prior to the introduction of citrus. With the cultivation of citrus trees in the warmer parts of the west, the range of the butterfly has expanded.