The "Giant" landed in Georgetown last week. No, not the Jolly Green Giant, but the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly-- Canada's largest butterfly-- with a wingspan of 83-113 mm (3.2-4.5 inches). The butterfly was found laying eggs on a hop tree at the home of Dean and Penni Gunby after son Luke, 4, (right) originally spotted the "Giant" flying about their backyard. Local naturalists from the North Peel/Halton Naturalists Club and the Toronto Entomological Association were surprised to hear of the "Giant's" arrival as it is usually found in Central America, through the eastern United States to its northern range along the shores of Lake Erie by Point Pelee and Pelee Island. What makes this sighting all the more unusual is that the Giant Swallowtail found what may be the only hop tree in Halton Hills. Dean Gunby planted the tree to complement his various Carolinian tree species and to use the fruit as a flavouring for home-made beer. Now his tree is being used for other purposes-- to nurture a new generation of swallowtails, as more than two dozen eggs were found on the tree.
Al Robitaille of Silvercreek inspects a large cecropia caterpillar found at neighbour Shelly Lyoness' home Thursday. The caterpillar, which grows to a length of more than four inches, spins a cocoon in late summer, then endures the winter in that state until late next spring when it will emerge as a large cecropia moth, commonly called a silk moth (right). The silk moth, whose wingspan is about six inches, are common to the area, but rarely seen as they are a nocturnal insect.