Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
subtribe - BATTINA
Madre de Dios, Peru
© Adrian Hoskins
Battus, and the related genera
Euryades are not true Swallowtails, but are members of the
Troidini, the same tribe to which the giant
Ornithoptera Birdwings of Papua New Guinea belong.
There are 12 Battus species most of
which are confined to tropical and sub-tropical areas of Central and
South America. Two species however - polydamas
and philenor, have ranges that extend
into the southern United States.
The upper wing surface of
species is similar to the underside but has a slight greenish sheen
and lacks the submarginal red spots.
Battus crassus occurs throughout much
of Central and South America from Costa Rica to Bolivia and
species occurs in primary rainforest and cloudforest habitats at
altitudes between 0-800m.
The eggs are laid in
clusters of up to 80. The caterpillars live gregariously, and feed
on Aristolochia vines. These plants
contain toxins which are sequestered by the caterpillars and passed
to the adult butterflies.
are usually encountered as singletons. They can often be seen imbibing
mineralised moisture from dry river beds or from the edges of small
streams. Both sexes nectar at Vochysia
and Hamelia. In common with most other
Papilionidae they tend to rapidly flutter their wings for several
minutes when first settling to feed, but if undisturbed eventually
settle down with their wings held erect. The adults are unpalatable to