Two-tailed Swallowtail

Papilio multicaudata

Two-tailed Swallowtail, Papilio multicaudata, photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed at Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. 4 August 2013. Notice the neat triangle broken out of the right forewing. This is a freshly emerged butterfly - maybe a day old - and already it's had a close call with a bird's beak. In a few weeks, the wings will be well-tattered and barely able to lift the insect into the air.

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This and the Giant Swallowtail vie for being the largest of butterflies in the USA. A large spectacular insect that patrols sycamore canyon bottoms through much of Arizona, the Two-tailed Swallowtail flies fast and is on the wing from April to October. The larvae can be found on Velvet Ash (Fraxinus velutina) and occasionally other trees.

Papilionidae -- Swallowtail Butterfly Family

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Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons
Invertebrates in Arizona's Sycamore Canyons


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 2 March 2014