SBMNH Home  Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
 SBMNH Home  Exhibits  Education  Sea Center  Collections  research  Library  Visitors  Members  Museum Store  Contacts

Santa Barbara Field Guides - Butterflies

     Papilio cresphontes
     Giant Swallowtail


Size: wingspread 3.75-5 in.
Recognition: Large; dramatic pattern of mostly black with horizontal yellow bands that slice through both FW and HW; also yellow spot band that extends down wings; red crescent on inner bottom of HW; long tail with yellow spot on the end.
Flight Period: Adults are active from March to October.
Hostplants: The larvae of the Giant Swallowtail feed on citrus trees (orange, lemon, grapefruit) in California, but in other areas of distribution use many other foodplants within the citrus family (Rutaceae).
Habitat: Citrus groves, woodlands, along fencerows, streamsides, parks, suburban yards, and gardens.
Distribution: Occurs throughout the central, eastern, and southern U.S., south into the tropics. Probably expanded its range into our area with cultivated citrus. It is now relatively rare in our area, being more common from Los Angeles County southeastward.

previous species                     Family list     Papilionidae                     next species

Home | Exhibits | Education | Sea Center | Collections | Research | Library | Visitors | Members | Store | Contacts