Subject: Giant Swallowtail in NH?
Location: Francestown, NH
August 6, 2012 9:05 pm
I saw this butterfly the other day and I don’t remember seeing this around before. Looks like a Giant swallowtail from other pictures I’ve seen.
Is it unusual for this to be found here in Southern NH? Was wondering if it was due to the rediculously warm winter or if it’s just a random thing.
This certainly is a Giant Swallowtail. Though southern sightings are more common, northern sightings do occur. BugGuide has received submissions of Giant Swallowtails from New York, Massachusetts and Ontario. Prior to the introduction of citrus crops in the south, the native larval food source was the common pricklyash, Zanthoxylum americanum, as well as the common hoptree, Ptelea trifoliata. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Database has a map of the range of the common hoptree and it stretches considerably further north than New Hampshire. The USDA website has a similar map for the common pricklyash. BugGuide also states that Giant Swallowtails can stray as far north as “Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba, and North Dakota.” The common hoptree and common pricklyash are not found in Arizona or California, however, the range of the Giant Swallowtail has expanded to the west coast thanks to the cultivation of citrus. The caterpillars of the Giant Swallowtail are commonly called Orange Dogs.