Papilio multicaudata

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Two-tailed swallowtail
SWALLOWTAIL, TWO-TAILED (Papilio multicaudata) (3-21-12) 78 circulo montana, patagonia lake ranch estates, scc, az (1) (9423416184).jpg
Scientific classification
P. multicaudata
Binomial name
Papilio multicaudata
W.F. Kirby, 1884

Three, see text


Papilio multicaudatus

Papilio multicaudata, the two-tailed swallowtail, is a species of the family Papilionidae found in western North America from British Columbia to Central America. [1]

British Columbia Province of Canada

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. With an estimated population of 5.071 million as of 2019, it is Canada's third-most populous province.

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is a region found in the southern tip of North America and is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas. This region is bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The combined population of Central America is estimated to be between 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.



The two-tailed swallowtail is a large swallowtail of western North America, one of several species that have yellow wings with black tiger striping. Each hindwing has several blue markings (top and bottom). Like other striped swallowtails, it has a small orange eyespot near the lower angle of each hindwing; the eyespots can fool predators into attacking the rear of the butterfly instead of the head, giving the butterfly a chance to escape. Its appearance is similar to the western, and eastern tiger swallowtails, but has narrower black stripes and usually two tails on each hindwing (rather than only one). Most two-tails have a black "slit pupil" in the orange eyespot on each hindwing, never present in western tiger. It is also usually larger than similar swallowtails within its range, although some eastern tiger swallowtails are as big as any two-tailed. The wingspan ranges from 3 to 6.5 inches (7.6 to 16.5 cm), making it the largest swallowtail in western North America. As is the case with most swallowtails, females are larger and more brightly colored than males, having more blue and orange markings on the hindwings. [1] [2] It does not tend to hybridize with related species as do the western, eastern, and Canadian tiger swallowtails.

Eyespot (mimicry) Eye-like marking used for mimicry or distraction

An eyespot is an eye-like marking. They are found in butterflies, reptiles, cats, birds and fish.

<i>Papilio rutulus</i> species of insect

Papilio rutulus, the western tiger swallowtail, is a common swallowtail butterfly of western North America, frequently seen in urban parks and gardens, as well as in rural woodlands and riparian areas. It is a member of the genus Papilio, of which Papilio appalachiensis and Papilio xuthus are also members. It is a large, brightly colored and active butterfly, rarely seen at rest; its wingspan is 7 to 10 cm, and its wings are yellow with black stripes, and it has blue and orange spots near its tail. It has the "tails" on the hindwings that are often found in swallowtails.

Mud-puddling in Arizona, United States SWALLOWTAIL, TWO-TAILED (Papilio multicaudata) (7-29-2014) sycamore cyn, pajarito mts, santa cruz co, az -01 (14829689145).jpg
Mud-puddling in Arizona, United States
Caterpillar Papilio multicaudata larva.jpg

The butterfly can be seen from Guatemala, through Mexico, the western United States to southern Canada in southern British Columbia, Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. It typically lives near streams and in moist valleys but also in canyons and cities at lower elevations. [1] [3]

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometers (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 129 million people, Mexico is the tenth most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states plus Mexico City (CDMX), which is the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the country include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, and León.

Alberta Province of Canada

Alberta is a province of Canada. With an estimated population of 4,067,175 as of 2016 census, it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces. Its area is about 660,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi). Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905. The premier is Jason Kenney as of April 30, 2019.

Host plants include: chokecherry, bitter cherry, Arizona rosewood, single-leaf ash, hoptree, and Arizona sycamore. In California it mostly uses California hoptree. Elsewhere in the West, it often uses green ash planted along city streets (in California, city habitats are usually occupied by western tiger swallowtails rather than two-tailed). [3]

The two-tailed swallowtail is the state butterfly of Arizona. [3]

Arizona State in the United States

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Life cycle

Adults fly during spring and summer and there is one brood. Females lay eggs singly on the host plant. The caterpillar will fold the host plant's leaves and tie them together with silk they will then eat from this structure. The pupae will overwinter then emerge in May.


Listed alphabetically: [4]

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Papilio glaucus, the eastern tiger swallowtail, is a species of swallowtail butterfly native to eastern North America. It is one of the most familiar butterflies in the eastern United States, where it is common in many different habitats. It flies from spring to fall, during which it produces two to three broods. Adults feed on the nectar of many species of flowers, mostly from those of the families Apocynaceae, Asteraceae, and Fabaceae. P. glaucus has a wingspan measuring 7.9 to 14 cm. The male is yellow with four black "tiger stripes" on each forewing. Females may be either yellow or black, making them dimorphic. The yellow morph is similar to the male, but with a conspicuous band of blue spots along the hindwing, while the dark morph is almost completely black.

Swallowtail butterfly family of insects

Swallowtail butterflies are large, colorful butterflies in the family Papilionidae, and include over 550 species. Though the majority are tropical, members of the family inhabit every continent except Antarctica. The family includes the largest butterflies in the world, the birdwing butterflies of the genus Ornithoptera.

<i>Papilio zelicaon</i> species of insect

Papilio zelicaon, the anise swallowtail, is a common swallowtail butterfly of western North America. Both the upper and lower sides of its wings are black, but the upper wing has a broad yellow stripe across it, giving the butterfly an overall yellow appearance. There are striking blue spots on the rear edge of the rear wing, and the characteristic tails of the swallowtails. Its wingspan is 52–80 mm. Its body is somewhat shorter than the rather similar western tiger swallowtail, with which its range overlaps; it also lacks the black stripes, converging toward the tail, of the latter. There is a somewhat darker subspecies, P. z. nitra, which is rare throughout the range, though somewhat more often found at lower elevations.

<i>Protographium marcellus</i> species of insect

Protographium marcellus, the zebra swallowtail, is a swallowtail butterfly native to the eastern United States and southeast Canada. It is the state butterfly of Tennessee. Its distinctive wing shape and long tails make it easy to identify, and its black-and-white-striped pattern is reminiscent of a zebra. The butterflies are closely associated with pawpaws, and are rarely found far from these trees. The green or black caterpillars feed on the leaves of various pawpaw species, while the adults feed on flower nectar and minerals from damp soil.

<i>Papilio machaon</i> species of insect

Papilio machaon, the Old World swallowtail, is a butterfly of the family Papilionidae. The butterfly is also known as the common yellow swallowtail or simply the swallowtail. It is the type species of the genus Papilio.

<i>Papilio cresphontes</i> species of insect

The giant swallowtail is the largest butterfly in North America. It is abundant through many parts of eastern North America; populations from western North America and down into Panama are now considered to belong to a different species, Papilio rumiko. Though it is often valued in gardens for its striking appearance, its larval stage can be a serious pest to citrus farms, which has earned its caterpillars the names orange dog or orange puppy. The giant swallowtail caterpillars possess remarkable camouflage from predators by closely resembling bird droppings. They use this, along with their osmeteria, to defend against predators such as wasps, flies, and vertebrates.

The Oregon swallowtail is a subspecies of swallowtail butterfly native to the United States of America, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and south-central British Columbia in Canada. In 1976, it became one of the first four butterflies that the United States Postal Service placed on a U.S. stamp.

<i>Papilio bianor</i> species of insect

Papilio bianor, the Common peacock or Chinese peacock black swallowtail emerald or Chinese peacock is a species of butterfly in the family Papilionidae, the swallowtails. It is native to Asia and Australia. It is the state butterfly of the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

<i>Papilio appalachiensis</i> species of insect

Papilio appalachiensis, the Appalachian tiger swallowtail, is a species of swallowtail butterfly found in eastern North America, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains. It is a hybrid of another two Papilio species, Papilio canadensis and Papilio glaucus, with which it shares many characteristics. The butterflies are normally yellow and contain black patterns in their wings. Their wingspans range from 86 to 115 mm. The caterpillars range in color from green and yellow to orange and are ornamented with black specks that give them the appearance of a bird dropping, which is useful for camouflage, or a large eye, a form of mimicry that is also efficient for protection. This species is univoltine. Females lay their eggs in May.

<i>Papilio canadensis</i> species of insect

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<i>Papilio brevicauda</i> species of insect

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<i>Papilio palamedes</i> species of insect

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<i>Agriades glandon</i> species of butterfly

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<i>Papilio indra</i> species of insect

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<i>Papilio zagreus</i> species of insect

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Papilio pilumnus, the three-tailed tiger swallowtail, is a species of swallowtail butterfly from the genus Papilio that is found in Texas, Mexico and Guatemala. Papilio xuthus and Papilio appalachiensis are also of the same genus.

<i>Papilio rumiko</i> species of insect

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