|Neutral ||Magpye ||On Oct 6, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a) wrote:
Battus philenor is found in the southern half of the United States (occasionally further north), and ranges south to southern Mexico
Battus philenor is found mostly in warm climates through out North America. The species favors open woodlands, meadows, and anywhere else an abundance of pipevine grow, including backyard gardens and nurseries
Wing span: 2 3/4 - 5 inches (7-13 cm)
The eggs of a pipevine swallowtail are red-orange and circular. As larvae (caterpillars) .. pipevine swallowtails are black, with red projections and spots running down their backs. When sunlight is hits the caterpillar it takes on a deep red color. The chrysalids of pipevine swallowtails have been recorded in two different colors, apparently depending on where the larva decides to cocoon. The chrysalis has its own shape distinct from other butterflies. The posterior end is segmented and has an inward curve; the ventral thorax of the chrysalis is raised, and the head has a pair of horns at the anterior dorsal portion.
The fore-wing of adults is coal-black above and gray below. The dorsal hind-wing is where the males and females are noticeably different. Males have smaller cream or pale spots than females, and the spots run along the fringe of the wings. Males are also a brighter metallic blue than their female counterparts, in the dorsal hind wing region. The bottom half of the ventral hind wing of males and females is metallic blue; a single row of seven orange spots and small pale, cream dots are found at the edge of the wing within the metallic blue section.
Pipevine swallowtail males spend most of their time looking to breed with females. Once a male has located a female, he will quickly land and attemp to mate. Females lay clusters of eggs on or under leaves of pipevines and mostly exposed in the sun. Larva (caterpillars) hatch from the eggs and begin feeding on the host plant. Once they have eaten enough, and matured enough, the larva will metamorphose into a pupa, or chrysalis. It spends the winter as a chrysalis (or in warm regions, just a few weeks), and emerges as an adult in the spring
The pipevine swallowtail feeds on pipevines (Aristolochia) as larvae. Pipvines are toxic to other animals, but not Battus philenor. The caterpillars and later stages retain the toxins from the plant and use them to discourage predators. Many other buttterflies mimic Battus philenor as a form of defense, because B. philenor has a bad taste and releases a toxic chemical
As larvae .. pipevine swallowtails, feed only on plants in the genus Aristolochia (known as pipevines).
As a butterfly, Battus philenor feeds soley on nectar from flowers, including thistles (Cirsium), bergamot, lilac, viper's bugloss, common azaleas, phlox, teasel, dame's rocket, lantana, petunias, verbenas, lupines, yellow start thistle, California buckeye, yerba santa, brodiaceas, and gilias
Pipevine swallowtails are, for now, secure globally.
In Michigan, where they reach the northern limit of their range, they are listed as a species of special concern.
Pipevine swallowtails can quickly learn to associate certain flower colors with nectar supplies. They may be as intelligent as honeybees in this regard (Milius 1998).
|Positive ||Buttoneer ||On Jul 3, 2012, Buttoneer from Carlisle, PA
(Zone 6b) wrote:
This is a positive general informational note.:
The caterpillars will reveal two yellow horns near it's head, if disturbed. If a bird picks up the caterpillar, the taste emanating from these horns is distasteful to the bird and is a protection to the caterpillar. This caterpillar is feeding on my Pipevines: Aristolochia durior and Aristolochia baetica.
The butterflies are laying eggs on the host plants, so I assume these caterpillars pupated over the winter, came out in the spring & have grown large enough to pupate while the butterflies are laying their eggs.