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  • Two-Tailed Swallowtail - (Papilio multicaudata)

    Two-Tailed Swallowtail - (Papilio multicaudata)

    A popular Tiger Swallowtail west of the Mississippi River, the Two-Tailed Swallowtail is blessed with an extra pair of tails at the tip of its hindwings.

    Picture of Two-Tailed Swallowtail
    Staff Writer (8/11/2017): Technically one could argue that the Two-Tailed Swallowtail has four tails, but the name counts the number per wing, not in total. Like other Tigers, this species is yellow with black stripes, creating a visual resemblance to the great jungle cat.The thin stripes are longest near the body and get progressively shorter toward the tips of the wings. The hindwings are scalloped and imbued with shades of iridescent blue and burnt orange at the center line. A long and short tail flanks the bottom edge of each hindwing. The Two-Tailed Swallowtail is one of the biggest butterflies found in the western part of the continent.

    Caterpillars have yellow faces and are fleshy and green when young. They are wider at the head and neck than at the rear. Small eyespots behind the head are followed by a white and black lined collar of sorts. Tiny light blue/lavender dots ring the segment before the collar with more on the third through sixth segments after the collar. Caterpillars of this species are found eating the leaves of chokcherry, hoptree and ash trees.

    Adults are found near water sources like streams and creeks. They drink flower nectar and can be spotted on blossoms as well as in flight. They are active spring through autumn. Look for them in canyons, woodlands and areas with moving water.

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    Details of the:
    Two-Tailed Swallowtail

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Two-Tailed Swallowtail
    Scientific Name: Papilio multicaudata

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

    Size (Adult, Length): 90mm to 127mm (3.54in to 5.00in)

    Identifying Colors: yellow, black, blue, orange

    Additional Descriptors: four, tails, two, stripes, lines, smudge, tiger, flying, spotted, eyes

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alaska; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Kansas; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Mexico; North Dakota; Oklahoma; Oregon; South Dakota; Texas; Utah;Washington; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia;Saskatchewan; 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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