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  • Giant Swallowtail Butterfly - (Papilio cresphontes)

    Giant Swallowtail Butterfly - (Papilio cresphontes)

    The huge Giant Swallowtail is a large North American butterfly that never fails to make an impression.

    Picture of Giant Swallowtail Butterfly
    Staff Writer (1/17/2014): This is the largest species of butterfly in North America. The Giant Swallowtail is immense for butterflies. Seeing one can be quite an event to remember. They can be found in flower gardens, at the edges of forests and citrus groves. They are great pollinators and, for that reason, are beneficial to have in the garden.

    The caterpillar is orange, black, white and brown and has been called an "orange dog". It could easily be mistaken as bird droppings on a leaf. They tend to enjoy eating the leaves of citrus trees like oranges and lemons. Because of that, citrus farmers consider them a pest.

    In warmer, southern areas, many generations can exist in one year. They are active year-round, but less likely to be seen in the middle of winter. They fly at heights close to human heads and higher as opposed to low to the ground.

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    Details of the:
    Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Giant Swallowtail Butterfly
    Scientific Name: Papilio cresphontes

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Papilionidae
           Genus: Papilio
            Species: cresphontes

    Size (Adult, Length): 86mm to 140mm (3.39in to 5.51in)

    Identifying Colors: black; yellow; orange; blue

    Additional Descriptors: flying, tails, helpful

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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