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Giant Swallowtail 
Latin Name: Papilio cresphontes
 
Genus: Papilio    Species: cresphontes 
Family
Latin Name: Papilionidae
Common Name: Swallowtails
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Family Members
 
SubFamily
Latin Name: Papilioninae
Common Name: Swallowtails
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SubFamily Members

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Comments:
Living up to its name, the Giant Swallowtail is one of the largest butterflies in Florida. The impressive adults are strong fliers but readily stop at colorful flowering plants to feed and are regular garden visitors. When nectaring, adults continuously flutter their wings much like a hummingbird. This behavior coupled with a long proboscis enables them to visit a wide range of flowers, including many that otherwise might not easily support their weight. Giant Swallowtail larvae, often called "orange dogs" because of their fondness for citrus, occasionally become minor pests in commercial orange groves.
   
Life Cycle:
Broods:
multiple generations, late February to November northward and year-round in southern portions
Egg:
amber-brown, laid singly on upperside of host leaves
Larva:
brown with yellow and cream patches; resembles bird dropping
Host Plants:
Hercules Club, Wild Lime, Wafer Ash and various cultivated citrus species
   
Host Plants:
Host Plants:
Hercules Club, Wild Lime, Wafer Ash and various cultivated citrus species
   
Habitat:
Habitat:
woodlands, pastures, forest edges, orange groves, suburban gardens
   
     
     
   
Wingspan:
Inches:
4.5 - 5.5
Centimeters:
11.4 - 14
   
Appearance:
Sexes:
similar, although females generally much larger
Compare:
Schaus' Swallowtail is smaller and lacks yellow spot in center of hindwing tail.
   
     
     
Markings:
 

Above:

  • chocolate brown with broad bands of yellow spots; characteristic diagonal band extends from tip of forewing to base of abdomen; hindwing tail has yellow center  
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Below:

  • cream yellow with brown markings and blue median hindwing band  
 
Florida Distribution:
Abundance:
occasional
   

 

     

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Map Legend: Resident (green) | Stray (Red)


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