Giant Swallowtails are seen very rarely here in Loudoun and personally it’s been 3 years since I’ve seen one, but I just saw a posting on a local listserv about this being a possible irruption year so we just may see them.
Typically, they live south of us and especially love the orange groves of Florida, but their range does span to our area in a limited way.
Giant Swallowtails look like Eastern Tiger Swallowtails at first glance but they are bigger, the markings are slightly different and their bodies are all yellow. The links included here prove more information about each species.
Here’s the posting:
I have been lurking on the VT and NY lep listservs, and it appears that a full-blown movement of Giant Swallowtails is underway this year. Although several field guides and more arcane publications advise that ” movements northward can sometimes result in small breeding colonies well north or the Giant Swallowtails’
s normal range”, the reports I am seeing seem to indicate an irruption, as well as breeding colonies. Wafer ash and prickly ash (neither are actually related to the ash tree sp.) are common in upstate NY and southern NE. We have had them here in Rohrersville (SE Washington
County, MD) for two weeks now, and based on all of these sightings it’s highly unlikely that these are escapes or hitchhikers on commercial nursery plants/trees (pupa, larva) from the Deep South. Think about it: Giant Swallowtails in Vermont! Hmmm… is global warming such a bad thing? 😉
In any event what an amazing sight! After years searching for a pitiful few in Boyds, MD ( I have only seen one there) Kathleen and I squealed like little kids as the Giant glided over our gardens. They LOVED the Lantana, and, of course, the Buddelia.
Anyone else here in VA MD DE DC seeing them in areas where they are not historically recorded?