Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail?
September 2, 2009
Hello Bugman,
Thank you for your amazing site.
I have seen this butterfly visiting the flowers on the landana camara (I think the common name is “spanish flag”) bush in our yard. My husband finally managed to get a picture of him/her today (Sept 2).
I checked the markings in Kaufman’s guide, and I think it is a Giant Swallowtail. It has a 5-6 inch wingspan, and the underside of its body is all light yellow, with just the small black streak along the top.
Is it unusual to see one in Los Angeles? It seems we are a little out of its range on the map.
Thank you!
Moira (photo by Simon)
Los Angeles

Giant Swallowtail
Giant Swallowtail

Hi Moira,
According to the BioOne website:  “Beginning in the 1960s, the familiar giant swallowtail (Papilo cresphontes) expanded its range into southern California from the east. From 1996 through 2003, at least 23 giant swallowtails were seen at 13 locations in the northern portion of the Baja California Peninsula, representing the first records of this species in the Mexican state of Baja California.
”  We saw our first Los Angeles specimen about six years ago at the Huntington Gardens, and for the past three or four years, we see them in our own Mount Washington garden beginning in August.  One was on the front porch yesterday.

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