Giant Swallowtail... one of the largest and most dramatic butterflies in North America!
The Giant Swallowtail dwarfs most of the flowers it feeds on. It does a delicate balancing act, clinging precariously to a blossom while constantly beating is wings to stay aloft. Though Giant Swallowtails may visit low growing flowers or shrubs to collect nectar, they prefer treetops when laying their eggs. Their frequent appearance in citrus groves have earned them the nickname "orange dog." The larvae feed on both native and cultivated members of the citrus family.
Upper sides of the wings are dark brown-black with prominent yellow bands. One runs horizontally across the forewings from wingtip to wingtip. Each hindwing is also banded with yellow. Giant Swallowtails are easily recognized by the powdery yellow undersides. The underwings are marked with black bands and each "tail" has a yellow eyespot.
The adults are far more beautiful than the caterpillars which look like bird droppings... a clever camouflage!. The eggs are pale yellow green. And the chrysalis is grayish brown and looks like a small twig.
Giant Swallowtail, Heraclides cresphontes
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami FL
For more, see my set Florida Butterflies.