Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Papilionidae (pap-ill-lee-ON-ih-dee) (Info)
Genus: Battus (BAT-tus) (Info)
Species: philenor


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Gulf Shores, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Saint David, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Barling, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Hagarville, Arkansas
Marion, Arkansas
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Northridge, California
Redding, California
Washington, District Of Columbia
Lutz, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Cornelia, Georgia
Chester, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Coatesville, Indiana
London, Kentucky
Denham Springs, Louisiana
La Place, Louisiana
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Columbus, Mississippi
Wiggins, Mississippi
Hermann, Missouri
Concord, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Glouster, Ohio
Kellyville, Oklahoma
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Monessen, Pennsylvania
Travelers Rest, South Carolina
Arlington, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Edinburg, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas
Irving, Texas
Los Fresnos, Texas
Portland, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (4 reports)
San Isidro, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Charlottesville, Virginia
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Members' Notes:


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.


On May 12, 2008, twopuppies from Chester, IL wrote:

I have seen none here this season and have yet to locate the larval plant, but it is an early season for swallowtails so I am watching!


On Mar 9, 2008, TheLoveofFlowers from Saint Paul, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I saw one of these in southeastern Wisconsin once. It was quite a rare find. I think the specimen must had strayed far out of its normal range.


On Nov 19, 2006, TexasPuddyPrint from Edinburg, TX wrote:

There are gobs of Pipevine Swallowtails back at the ranch. They use a native larval host plant called Swanflower aka Texas Black Flower (aristolochia erecta) to lay their eggs on. That plant grows only about 4 inches tall and tends to crawl along the ground. It is extremely hard to find considering the back pastures are overgrown with grass, weeds and native scrub brush. The only way I've been able to find it is to watch the female pipevines as they flit along the ground testing plants :o) You can also find the bright orangish red caterpillars near the top of surrounding grass as they tend to climb up as evening settles in. Same goes for early morning...you can spot them easily before they crawl down to their larval host.


On Oct 6, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR (Zone 6a) wrote:

Geographic Range:
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

Physical Description:
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 r... read more