There Be Giants Here!

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

Newly hatched Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

Found this in our backyard today, so new that it’s wings weren’t even fully expanded.  A big surprise, considering the dearth of butterflies this season, at least here.  We’ve never seen this one before, but I think we’ve seen its caterpillars.  They look like, well, bird poop.  I have some photos of the larvae somewhere, and when I find them I’ll post them.  I suspect that this magnificent butterfly was nurtured on our Wafer Ash, since they like citrus and this tree has some citrusy connections, Nadia tells me (plus I seem to remember finding those poopy caterpillars there).  I have read that this is the largest North American butterfly.  I can attest that it is certainly big, with a 4-5 inch wingspan.

It was a refreshing discovery in the middle of our severe drought and heat.  I wish it well.

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes). Front view.

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