A confiding giant swallowtail, Dead Creek, Addison, on 07-14-2012

Giant Swallowtail butterflies have continued to be reported in record numbers in Vermont since our first post about them in May. And some of them are quite friendly, as Warren King discovered at Dead Creek in Addison last week (pictured above). The full breadth of this invasion across the state is well represented by the pictures posted to the VTLEPS Flickr photo pool.

I recently had my own encounter with with a Giant Swallowtail, and though it was not quite as close as Warren’s, it was a fairly significant sighting. I was at Otter View Park in Middlebury near the beginning of the boardwalk when I saw a one of these big butterflies fluttering around a shrub. I was pretty excited about that alone since it afforded me the opportunity to finally take a decent picture of one. But as I got close enough to start taking pictures, I realized it was actually laying eggs and had the good fortune to be able to catch this activity action on camera. The host plants for their larva are citrus plants and this Giant Swallowtail had chosen to lay its egg on a Prickly Ash, which despite its name is in the citrus family.

This flight of Giant Swallowtails into Vermont over the past few years has been very well documented, but you can help expand the knowledge of  their presence here by submitting your sightings to Butterflies and Moths of North America.

– Ron Payne

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