Cresphontes

Giant Swallowtail

Heraclides cresphontes (Cramer, 1777)

Family: Papilionidae

Status: Occasional resident

NENHP Ranking: Not listed

Range: The Giant Swallowtail is a resident in southern and eastern portions of the United States. The boundary where residency ends and where it considered a stray is somewhat fluid and in question. It is regularly reported in southern and eastern Nebraska as well as the Niobrara River valley to the north.

Broods/Flight Times: Multiple flights from mid-May to mid-September

Larval Hostplant(s): An understory plant, Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum), as well as ornamentals Rue (Ruta graveolens) and Gasplant (Dictamnus albus)

Habitat: As a strong flier this southern species ranges widely and is often sighted in urban areas as well as open woodlands populated with Prickly Ash.

Found at: Indian Cave State Park, Niobrara Valley Preserve

Overwintering: As pupae

Similar Species: None

Notes: Consistent sightings at the Niobrara Valley Preserve where it associates with Prickly Ash suggest the species is capable of overwintering in that region of the state. Later instar larvae resemble bird droppings.

Giant Swallowtail, Garfield County, Elizabeth McMullen
Giant Swallowtail – dorsal
Giant Swallowtail larvae on Gasplant.

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