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Photo#135297
Female Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes - female

Female Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes - Female
Austin, Travis County, Texas, USA
August 8, 2007
I can't tell my swallowtails from each other, but I think this is either a giant or a thaos. Here the female is laying eggs on a tangerine tree. I didn't realize they were citrus eaters until today.

Images of this individual: tag all
Female Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes - female Female Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes - female Female Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes - female

Egg closeup

This is...
an outstanding series of photographs!

Nice work.

Interesting & Confusing Post
Thaos is a name new to me, so I did some cursory research. I'm assuming it's actually thoas, scientific name Papilio thoas, and not from this country. For the most part, the non-US photos I found with a Google image search were vastly different than the Giant; I suspect confusion at best and a marketing ploy at worst! Butterflies through Binoculars The West lists it under the heading "SPECIES DUBIOUSLY REPORTED TO HAVE OCCURRED NATURALLY". So, ahem, my conclusion is that you have a Giant Swallowtail here and that they do in fact lay eggs on citrus. They also flap about constantly and are very tough to photograph, so congrats on your shots.

Going for the bonus question, I can't make out a katydid, but think I see a long, striped antennae that would belong to one.

 
Thoas
I think it has been documented in Texas. Some of those species reported as dubious in BTB have since been discovered (i.e. Rusty-tipped Page) in the Rio Grande Valley. Then there is the constant possibility of finding bugs transplanted on produce or potted plants as eggs, larvae or chrysalids. Playing the odds game, I would call this one a Giant.

 
Cliff, that sounds definitive to me.
As an aside, the Giant is a relative newcomer here in Orange County, listed in a local book from the seventies along the lines of "not present yet, but coming". Well, it's here now, but not in huge numbers.

 
Giant food
Hi, Just an added thought here. I don't know how reliable the records of Rutaceae (i.e. Citrus, Rue, etc.) for P. thoas are. The species likes Piperaceae best, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is restricted to that family. Would be something to learn more about, but I suspect that ovipositing on a Citrus would be much more likely for a Giant (prefered host) than for a Thoas (maybe not a wild choice for host at all?). By the way, it looks like a Giant to me too.

 
There goes my dyslexia. The t
There goes my dyslexia. The thoas swallowtail is listed in my Peterson Eastern Butterflies book. The range map includes a significant part of south Texas, with a spot near Austin (here), east Texas, north Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado. It calls it a rare vagrant that cannot be confidently separated from the giant swallowtail without capture.

Bonus question. Is that some
Bonus question. Is that some sort of katydid at bottom right?

 
When I originally posted, I d
When I originally posted, I did not know how to add thumbnails. I do so now.

 
Closeup

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