There are about 600 species within the family Papilionidae. The family is made up
of 3 subfamilies, the Parnassiinae, which has about 50 species of Parnassians and
Apollos that are found mostly in the montane regions of the nothern hemisphere, the
Baroniinae, which has only 1 species, Baronia brevicomis from western Mexico, and
the Papilioninae, which has about 550 species found worldwide. The subfamily Papilioninae
is further divided into 4 tribes, the Teinopalpini, which include 2 species from
the Himalayas, the Troidini, which has about 130 worldwide species including the
birdwings, the Leptocircini, which has about 140 species and includes kite Swallowtails,
and the Papilionini, which has over 200 worldwide species and includes the fluted
swallowtails in which Papilio palamedes belongs to.
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Papilio cresphontes has one of the largest wingspans of any U.S. butterfly. It is
found through out most of the eastern half of the United States. It is commonly
found in and around woodlands and it avidly collects nectar from many flowers including
those in gardens. Males can also be found in numbers imbibing minerals from the
edges of lakes, rivers, and puddles on gravel roads.
Larval hostplants include plants in the citrus family and the caterpillars are considered
a pest by some in areas with citrus groves. Caterpillars feed from a silk shelter.
Larvae have eversible organs called osmeteria that are used to chemically deter