San Clemente, Orange County, CA. 9-18-13. © Robert Gorman

Western Giant Swallowtail

Papilio rumiko

Lepidoptera: Papilionidae

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San Clemente, Orange County, CA. 9-14-12. © Robert Gorman

Noth America's largest butterfly. San Clemente, Orange County, CA. 9-22-13. © Robert Gorman

On Common Yarrow. San Clemente, Orange County, CA. 9-19-13. © Robert Gorman

San Clemente, Orange County, CA. 9-14-12. © Robert Gorman

Irvine residence, Orange County, CA. 9-23-13. © Ron Hemberger
 
Photos below © Peter J. Bryant.

Larva

Larva with everted osmeteria

Prepupa

Pupa

Newly emerged adult. Photograph © Don Bauman 


On an Orange tree. University Hills, Irvine, Orange County, CA. 7/9/08. © Susan Demaggio.

Upper Newport Bay, Newport Beach, Orange County, CA. 7-5-08. © Peter J. Bryant.

Upper Newport Bay, Newport Beach, Orange County, CA. 7-5-08. © Peter J. Bryant.

Upper Newport Bay, Newport Beach, Orange County, CA. 7-5-08. © Peter J. Bryant.

Upper Newport Bay, Newport Beach, Orange County, CA. 7-5-08. © Peter J. Bryant.

Irvine, Orange County, CA. 7-7-08. © Ron Hemberger

Irvine, Orange County, CA. 7-7-08. © Ron Hemberger

Irvine, Orange County, CA. 7-7-08. © Ron Hemberger

Irvine, Orange County, CA. 7-7-08. © Ron Hemberger

Irvine, Orange County, CA. 7-7-08. © Ron Hemberger

Irvine, Orange County, CA. 7-7-08. © Ron Hemberger

Characteristics: The largest butterfly occurring in the United States

Larval food plant: Various citrus species, Rue. 

Distribution: Orsak (1977) listed this species only as "of possible Orange County Occurrence". He wrote: "A native of the southern states west to Texas and Arizona, it has been a California resident for only a little more than ten years. It is now commonly seen in the Imperial and San Joaquin Valleys (Emmel and Emrnel, 1973). The larvae, known as "orange dogs" to many Southerners, feed on a wide variety of Citrus in the United States. Papilio cresphontes may eventually spread to Orange County and become an established resident (and possible pest) on backyard and commercial Citrus."

There are many recent sightings:  

1997-98:
San Clemente (Don Bauman)
Fullerton (Diana Bridgeford)
Laguna Beach (Robert Josephson)

1999: 
Irvine (Marika Walter)
Aliso Viejo (Jane Strong)
Monterey Park, Los Angeles County (Jane Strong)
La Jolla, San Diego County (Judy Vacquier)

2004:
Laguna Beach (Peter Bryant)
Fountain Valley (Sheila Cadilli)
Huntington Beach (Brian Stock)
La Jolla, San Diego County (Gary Fogel)
Orange (Charlotte Mason)
Costa Mesa (Gale Cunningham)

2005:
Redlands, San Bernardino County (Patty Peoples)
Santa Ana (Don Millar)
San Clemente (Michael Hoffman)
Lomita (Glenn Kageyama)
Tustin (Joyce Thompson)

2006:
Irvine (Ron Hemberger)
Fullerton (Ron Hemberger)
Garden Grove (Carole Shelby)
Laguna Niguel (Greg Sparks)
Huntington Beach (Mary Nomura)
Lomita (Glenn Kageyama)

2007:
Riverside County (Nancy Macias)
San Diego (Sheila Kelly)
Long Beach (Harry and Jean Pope)
Fullerton (Ron Hemberger)
Tustin (David and Annette Hoshour)
San Juan Capistrano (Erich Riedl)

2008:
Fullerton (Ron Hemberger)
Tustin (Ron Hemberger)
Fountain Valley (Sheri Henderson)
Newport Beach (Peter Bryant)
Irvine (Susan Demaggio)
Huntington Beach (Ron Hemberger)
Orange (Ron Hemberger)
West Hills, CA 91304 (Mary Ann Weyer)

 

Orsak, L. J. (1977). The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Center for Pathobiology Miscellaneous Publication #3.  University of California Press, New York.  349pp.

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