BugFinder Insects by State Spiders Butterflies & Moths Bees, Ants, & Wasps Beetles All Bugs Videos (YouTube)

Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Two-tailed Swallowtail

Loading SVG image placeholder
Image Credit: Sue S., taken in Billings, MT
Full-sized image of the Two-Tailed-Swallowtail-Butterfly Thumbnail image of the Two-Tailed-Swallowtail-Butterfly
Image Credit: Marjorie S. taken at Cub Lake, CO
Full-sized image #2 of the Two-Tailed-Swallowtail-Butterfly Thumbnail image #2 of the Two-Tailed-Swallowtail-Butterfly
Image Credit: Sue S., taken in Billings, MT
Full-sized image #3 of the Two-Tailed-Swallowtail-Butterfly Thumbnail image #3 of the Two-Tailed-Swallowtail-Butterfly

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

Updated: 01/06/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Technically one could argue that the Two-tailed Swallowtail has four tails, but the name counts the number of tails per wing, not in total. Like other Tiger Swallowtails, this species is yellow with black stripes, creating a visual resemblance to the great jungle cat. The thin black 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 a short tail flank 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 collar. Tiny light blue/lavender dots ring the segment before the collar, but there are more on the third through sixth segments after the collar. Caterpillars of this species are usually 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.©InsectIdentification.org

Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.InsectIdentification.org. It is the product of hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, educators, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at InsectIdentification AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

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

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Papilio multicaudata
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 90mm to 127mm (3.54" to 5.00")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow; black; blue; orange
Descriptors: four; tails; two; stripes; lines; smudge; tiger; flying; spotted; eyes

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 90mm (3.5in) and 127mm (5.0in)
Lo: 90mm
Md: 108.5mm
Hi: 127mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Two-tailed Swallowtail may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Two-tailed Swallowtail. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Sitemap
Beetle Identification Butterfly Identification Caterpillar Identification Spider ID Fungal Infections on Insects Nursery Web Spider Official State Insects Termite Basics Insect Molting Process Bugs of Tennessee House Centipede

2024 www.InsectIdentification.org • Content ©2006-2024 InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved. The InsectIdentification.org logo, its written content, and watermarked photographs/imagery are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and is protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (regarding bites, etc...).Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. By submitting images to us (InsectIdentification.org) you acknowledge that you have read and understood our Site Disclaimer as it pertains to "User-Submitted Content". Images in JPG format are preferred with a minimum horizontal dimension of 1000px if possible. When emailing please include your location and the general estimated size of the specimen in question if possible. Please direct all inquiries and comments to insectidentification AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

©2024 www.InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2006-2024 (18yrs)