giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Parnassians and Swallowtails (Papilionidae)
SUBFAMILY: Swallowtails (Papilioninae)
IDENTIFICATION: Forewing with diagonal band of yellow spots. Tails
are edged with black and filled with yellow.
LIFE HISTORY: Males patrol for receptive females. Females lay single
eggs on host leaves and twigs. Caterpillars resemble bird droppings and
eat leaves and young shoots. Chrysalids hibernate.
FLIGHT: Two in the north from May-September; all year in Florida and
the Deep South.
WING SPAN: 4 - 6 1/4 inches (10.2 - 16 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Trees and herbs of the citrus family (Rutaceae)
including citrus species, prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum), hop
tree (Ptelea trifoliata), and common rue (Ruta graveolens).
ADULT FOOD: Nectar from lantana, azalea, bougainvilla, bouncing Bet,
dame's rocket, goldenrod, Japanese honeysuckle, and swamp milkweed.
HABITAT: Many locales including rocky and sandy hillsides near streams
or gullies in the north; pine flats, towns, and citrus groves in the south.
RANGE: Throughout eastern North America west to the Rocky
Mountains, south through the desert Southwest to South America.
A rare stray to Quebec, North Dakota, and Bermuda.
CONSERVATION: Not required in the United States.
NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure glob-
ally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
MANAGEMENT NEEDS: Caterpillars ("orange dogs") are occasional
pests of citrus.
SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:
Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from
year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more
categories and may vary even during a single season.
Key to Checklist
A Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
C Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
U Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
usually in low numbers.
O Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
in low numbers.
R Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.
Calendar of Events
Sky Meadows Park
Crooked Run Valley