Butterflies: Two-Tailed Swallowtail

Flight period
Caterpillar food
Common nectar plants, adult food
Two-tailed swallowtail
(Papilio multicaudatus)
Green ash, chokecherry
Geranium, thistle, milkweed



Scientific Name: Palilio (Pterourus) multicaudatus Kirby
Description: Ranging between 3.5 and 5 inches. Large yellow and black wings. Each hind wing has two tail-like projections. Upper surface of male wings has black stripes.
Range: Western part of North America from British Columbia to Mexico and from the Pacific Ocean to central Nebraska and Texas. Not found in some deserts of the Southwest.
Habitat: Prefers foothill slopes and canyons, but can also be found in urban areas in parks and along roads.
Diet: Caterpillar will eat the leaves of ash, hop tree and chokecherry. Adult feeds on nectar from thistles, milkweed, lilac and many others.
Activity Period: Active throughout most of the year.
Reproduction: Males seek females. Eggs are laid individually on the leaves of ash, hop tree or chokecherry. Caterpillars emerge and eat the leaves of the host plant and rest in curled leaves.
Status: Population is stable and quite common throughout its range. Can even be found in urban areas.
Source: Urban Integrated Pest Management. Beneficial Insects: Two-Tailed Swallowtail. 22 April 2005. <http://ag.arizona.edu/urbanipm/insects/twotailed_swallowtail.html>

Two-tailed Swallowtail1Two-tailed Swallowtail2Two-tailed Swallowtail3

Two-tailed swallowtail larvae. Early instar (middle), later instar (right).

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