Friday, October 30, 2009

Meet the giant swallowtail

That's right, another butterfly post!

Papilio cresphontes is larger and has a somewhat different yellow-and-black pattern than its cousin Papilio polyxenes. It is, in fact, the largest butterfly native to the United States.
I caught this guy hanging out on my neighbor's lantana. He (or she) was cooperative enough to let me get this photograph.

As beautiful as these insects are, they are sometimes considered pests to the citrus industry because citrus trees are a host plant for giant swallowtail caterpillars. I, on the other hand, might plant a lemon tree just to attract more of these guys.

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