Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes

It is indeed big. Though not much larger than the black form of the female Tiger. This upper wing pattern in the east is definitive. Nothing else like it. In Texas beware of some encroaching Mexican species. A fast flying butterfly, often cruises up high and nectars on vine flowers and upper story blooms. This one was not flapping and was open. A rare event for a puddling Giant.    

Female egglaying in Florida.

As fresh as they can be. Cheryl's hatched pupa from the caterpillars that required some emergency food sources that she drove long distances to obtain. Babied onto the wing. Heroic.

And the face of the Giant in 2013, a boom year for them. I saw them virtually every day in late summer. They remain mad for thistle flower.  

Early instar of the caterpillar which is a bird poop mimic. 

And some later instars, one of which gave rise to the fresh hatch above. 

And the sling strapped chrysalis of the Giant. With similar color pattern to the late cat above.

As you move into TX and FL and southward you have several other species in the group with the Giant. This is from Panama, near the Canopy Tower. And we thought it was a Thoas Swallowtail. Papilio thoas. But after long consideration, I think this is another Giant. They are very difficult to separate. Still pondering.