Thoas Swallowtail (Papilio thoas Swainson)
Wing span: 4 1/8 - 5 inches (10.5 - 12.8 cm).
Identification: Upperside of forewing has diagonal yellow band of square spots in a neat row.
Life history: Caterpillars resemble bird droppings and rest exposed on leaves.
Flight: Year-round in the tropics, April-July in south Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Plants in the citrus family (Rutaceae) including Citrus spp., prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum), hop tree (Ptelea trifoliata); six species in the Piperaceae family.
Adult food: Flower nectar, including lantana, cesalpina, and bougainvilla.
Habitat: Mid-elevation tropical forests and lowland edges.
Range: South Texas south to Brazil. Very rare stray into Kansas and Oklahoma.
Conservation: Not needed in the United States.
Management needs: None in the United States.
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.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann