Look at most range maps for the Spicebush Swallowtail, and you’ll find it covers most of the eastern half of the United States, except for the state of Maine. In fact, on the map I’m looking at, in the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies, the cut-off is the straight-line boundary between New Hampshire and Maine.

Now, I’ve been back and forth between the two many times, and there’s not a whole lot of difference between one side and the other. It takes one of those official signs to tell you just which state you’re in. Turns out, the reason is that while a few of the Papilio troilus (don’t you just love the name?) are occasionally spotted in the Granite State, not so in Maine; not since 1934, in fact.

But no longer.

It seems that some people in the state’s Fish and Wildlife Department were unconvinced, so they staked out a swampy area that seemed likely habitats, and eureka! They found some.

Now I’m sure that there will be some frugal Yankees who will tut-tut and say that’s no way to be spending public money. But as for me, I don’t mind it one bit.

By the way, it gets its common name from one of its primary food sources, the spicebush Lindera benzoin.

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