giant swallowtail returns

Kathleen Moon kmoon at
Fri Jul 2 17:52:45 EDT 1999

> J Shields <truezane at> wrote:
> >
> >I had observed several giant swallowtails last year, in September and
> >October, in my yard in mar vista CA; today, July 1, I have been
> watching
> >one in my backyard for the past hour.  It looks as though they're
> taking
> >up residency in my neighborhood.  It seems to like landing on my tomato
> >plants - not interested in my natives in the front yard.  Anyway, I
> will
> >be watching to see if it lays any eggs on my neighbor's orange tree.
> >Just thought I would share this
> >Anyone interested can contact me
> What was it doing on the tomato plant? Sunning?  I saw a swallowtail
> (Western Tiger?) visiting avocado leaves yesterday.  It looked like it
> was laying eggs.  I haven't tried to get up there to look. Has anybody
> found larvae on avocado?  I've never read of such a thing. Is it possible?
When it comes to the western tiger using avocado as a larval host, I
have no idea, but I saw something that looked like a large western tiger
swallowtail (maybe a stray two-tailed swallowtail?) lay eggs on our
peach tree three years ago.  Given that the latter uses western
chokecherry - both peach and chokecherry are in the genus Prunus - in
the area near Gorman (about halfway between Los Angeles and Bakersfield,
for those of you who are not familiar with southern California
geography), that didn't sound to far-fetched except for the elevation
difference: Canoga Park is at about 850 feet elevation, whereas the area
I am talking about is over 6000 feet.
Now for the "normal" stuff :-) for the western tiger, sycamore is more
within the realm of reason, and various citrus for the giant
swallowtail.  As for the mentality that, so prevalent in today's
society, has man subjugating nature right and left, it was only a matter
of time befoire the giant made it into the Los Angeles area.  If you or
anyone else wishes to question my attitude on this, just look around
you: how far is it to the nearest citrus tree?  Given that the giant is
a fairly strong flier, don't you think it could make it from one group
of trees, an actual grove or orchard or not, to the next in a season?
The answer is yes and it is nothing short of ludicrous to think that it
can be controlled by spraying the [!@#$%^] out of it to make it stay
away from our trees.  Another look at the situation: it is a tropical
species; how cold a winter do you think it can survive?  We do get some
rather hard freezes around here... - cold enough to freeze out the gulf
fritillary, another tropical species.

More information about the Leps-l mailing list