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Species Papilio multicaudatus - Two-tailed Swallowtail - Hodges#4178

Two-tailed Swallowtail On Showy Milkweed - Papilio multicaudatus - female Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio multicaudatus caterpillar - Papilio multicaudatus Two-tailed Swallowtail caterpillar, larva - Papilio multicaudatus Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio multicaudatus - female Swallowtail - Papilio multicaudatus - female Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly (Arizona State Butterfly) - Papilio multicaudatus - male Papilio multicaudatus --? - Papilio multicaudatus Papilio multicaudatus --? - Papilio multicaudatus
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Papilionidae (Swallowtails, Parnassians)
Subfamily Papilioninae
Tribe Papilionini (Fluted Swallowtails)
Genus Papilio
Species multicaudatus (Two-tailed Swallowtail - Hodges#4178)
Hodges Number
4178
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Author: W.F. Kirby, 1884
Syn: multicaudata - spelling
Correct spelling for species name is multicaudatus, as long as species is placed in genus Papilio or in Pterourus - both masculine names.
Explanation of Names
multicaudatus - Latin for "many-tailed"
Size
Wing span: 3 1/2 - 5 inches (9 - 12.7 cm) - BAMONA
Identification
Upper surface of male forewing with narrow black stripes. Each hindwing has 2 tails.(1) If abdomen is visible, male claspers are obvious as a yellow segment at the tip, beyond the black stripe (see below).

Females often have broader black stripes, and more blue on the upperside (see below).

Caterpillars resemble those of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
Range
CA-TX-ND-BC / Mex. - MPG
Habitat
Foothill slopes and canyons, moist valleys, streamsides, woodlands, parks, roadsides, suburbs, and cities. - BAMONA
Season
mostly: Mar-Sept - MPG
Food
Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of ash (Fraxinus), hop tree (Ptelea), and chokecherry (Prunus).
Adult food: Nectar from thistles, milkweeds, California buckeye, lilac, and many others. - BAMONA
Life Cycle
Males patrol stream courses or city streets for receptive females. Eggs are laid singly on leaves of host plant. Caterpillars eat leaves and rest on silken mats in shelters of curled leaves. Chrysalids hibernate.(1)
Remarks
Trivia: This is probably the largest species of Butterfly in North America, with spread specimens sometimes pushing 6 inches in wingspan. However, the Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes (which definitely averages smaller) is consistently listed as the largest species, and indeed some females of that species can reach very large proportions as well. Occasionally nearly as large is also the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio glaucus. So, on an average, everyday basis, P. multicaudatus is largest, but as for the largest specimen recorded, it is probably an open contest. [note added September 22, 2013 by David J. Ferguson]