Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio cresphontes)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 1/17/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The huge Giant Swallowtail is a large North American butterfly that never fails to make an impression.
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.