Swallowtails are large and colorful butterflies with a forked appearance of the hind wings. There are over 550 species of swallowtails in the world. Most live in tropical regions, they live on all continents except Antarctica. They feed on nectar of various flowers, fluttering while they eat. They are very striking as adults, but as caterpillars, they are generally foul smelling. Each species looks different in caterpillar and adult form. Here are a few of the adults I’ve seen in the southwest. They are certainly a beautiful bug to watch flitting around in the summer sunshine.
Western tiger swallowtails have distinguishing two red spots near long black tail. Black swallowtails have two forms, so they can vary in their appearance, but all have double row of of yellowish spots across both sets of wings. Giant swallowtails have a distinct yellow band across their forewings and yellow band along margins, with a long wingspan, up to four inches.