Arizona State Insect
Two-Tailed Swallowtail Butterfly (common name)
Papilio multicaudata (scientific name)
The two-tailed swallowtail is a large yellow butterfly native to western North America. Its upper wings are yellow to orangish-yellow, edged with black, and with four parallel black stripes. The tip of each hind wing has a curved row of blue patches, orange spots, and two elongated tails. It is similar to the tiger swallowtail except that each hind wing has two tails. The two-tailed swallowtail butterfly was designated the official state butterfly of Arizona in 2001.
Wingspan: 3 1/2–5 in (9–12.7 cm).
Larvae: Light green and with four yellow dots near the head, two yellow "eye spots" with blue centers, several alternating black and yellow stripes around its neck, and several rows of tiny blue dots along its body. The caterpillar turns brownish or reddish just prior to the pupa stage (when it makes a cocoon for itself).
Two to three weeks
Canyon lands, foothills, valleys, stream sides, woodlands, parks, roadsides, suburbs, gardens, and cities.
Range: Western North America from British Columbia to central Nebraska in the north and northern Mexico in the south.
Flight period: In the northern part of its range it has one flight from May to mid-August. It is present from February to mid-November in its southern range.
Conservation status: Least Concern
Adults: Male two-tailed tiger swallowtails will fly high in the trees, along streams or streets looking for receptive females. In the foothills swallowtails will have two or three broods. Eggs are laid one at a time on leaves of host plants.
Larva: Caterpillars eat the leaves of these plants when they hatch and shelter themselves in dried leaves.
Adults: Butterflies drink flower nectar from the California buckeye, yerba santa, giant hyssop, milkweed, lily, thistle, milkweed, and lilac.
Larvae: Caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of plants including chokecherry, bitter cherry, Arizona rosewood, single-leaf ash, hop tree, and Arizona sycamore.
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|Author: World Trade Press|