State Butterfly of Arizona

State Butterfly of Arizona

Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly Is The Official State Butterfly of Arizona. Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly Was designated As The Arizona State Butterfly in 2001 (also called two-tailed tiger swallowtail). A large butterfly (wingspan 3.5 to 5.5 inches), the State Butterfly of Arizona two-tailed swallowtail is found only west of the Mississippi in North America (in canyons, foothills, valleys, woodlands, and gardens from southwestern Canada through the western half of the U.S. and into Mexico).

Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly appearance is similar to the Giant Swallowtail, Western, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, but has thinner and fewer black stripes on the wings and the hind wing has two tails. The State Butterfly of Arizona has distinctive yellow wings with a black tiger striping. Each hindwing has several blue markings (top and bottom). The eyespots can fool predators into attacking the rear of the butterfly instead of the head, giving the butterfly a chance to escape.

The two-tailed tiger swallowtail spends the winter in the pupal stage, a gray-brown chrysalis hidden in some protective location that camouflages well with the background substrate. Adults emerge in May and June and may be seen flying about through August. They sustain themselves on nectar and frequently may be seen visiting flowers. The western tiger swallowtail, Papilio rutulus L., is similarly yellow and black patterned large butterfly that overlaps the range of the two-tailed swallowtail throughout much of the state.


“Two-Tailed Swallowtail”

(Papilio multicaudata)


Appearance:  Large yellow swallowtail with narrower black stripes on forewing than on Western Tiger Swallowtail.  Two tails on the hindwing, although the second one is less prominent. Male and female similar although female has more blue and orange on the hindwing.

Wingspan: Large; 3 1/2 to 5 inches.

Habitat: Foothills slopes and canyons, urban parks and gardens, valleys, streamsides, and woodlands; plains, foothills, montane.

Flight Times: April to August; one brood.  Overwinters as a chrysalis.

Larval Foodplant: Leaves of ash and chokecherry.


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