Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata Kirby)
Wing span: 3 1/2 - 5 inches (9 - 12.7 cm).
Identification: Upper surface of male forewing with narrow black stripes. Each hindwing has 2 tails.
Life history: Males patrol stream courses or city streets for receptive females. Eggs are laid singly on leaves of host plant. Caterpillars eat leaves and rest on silken mats in shelters of curled leaves. Chrysalids hibernate.
Flight: One flight May to mid-August in North, most of year in South.
Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of ash (Fraxinus), hop tree (Ptelea), and chokecherry (Prunus).
Adult food: Nectar from thistles, milkweeds, California buckeye, lilac, and many others.
Habitat: Foothill slopes and canyons, moist valleys, streamsides, woodlands, parks, roadsides, suburbs, and cities.
Range: Western North America south from British Columbia, east to central Nebraska and central Texas, south through Mexico.
Conservation: Not usually required.
Management needs: None noted.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida. Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON. 280 pp. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.