Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
Tribe - LEPTOCIRCINI
Eurytides is comprised of 7 neotropical
species. It is closely allied to the genera
Protographium, the three genera being
known collectively as Swordtails, due to the long narrow projections
on their hindwings.
The Dolicaon Swordtail has distinctive black bars
on the hindwing, and can only be confused with one other species
E. iphitas, but the latter has more
rounded hindwings, and a yellow ground colour, while
dolicaon is always a purer slightly
species is distributed from Panama, Colombia and Venezuela in the
north, down to southern Peru, the Mato Grosso of Brazil, and
possibly also Bolivia.
Eurytides dolicaon is a lowland
species, found in association with wet primary rainforest at
altitudes from sea level to about 400m.
I have no information regarding this particular species, but the
following descriptions apply generally to the genus
The eggs are typically white, globular, and laid
singly on the young leaves of Guatteria,
Sapranthus ( Annonaceae ). Females tend to repeatedly visit a
chosen plant, upon which they may lay several eggs during the course
of a few hours.
larvae are wedge-shaped, tapering towards the tail end, and with the
thoracic segments enlarged. They are generally greenish, marbled or
spotted with darker markings, and are not adorned with spines or
tubercles. They normally rest with the head and tail slightly
with all other Papilionids the larvae are equipped with an eversible
osmaterium - a pair of fleshy forks on the first segment, from which
airborne chemical compounds are disseminated. Various theories have
been postulated as to the purpose of these pungent odours, which
appear to have no effect on avian predators or dipteran parasitoids.
It has been suggested that they may serve to warn off ants that
might otherwise molest them.
The pupae are usually brownish, with a prominent thoracic keel, and
resemble small pieces of dirty wood. They are always fixed
vertically by the cremaster and a silken girdle to twigs.
male, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru
© Adrian Hoskins
species in my experience is always seen singly.
butterflies have a rapid straight-line flight at canopy level, but
will descend when migrating along river courses, and visit wet
sandbanks in company with groups of mud-puddling
Protographium and Protesilaus
species. All three genera "filter-feed", sucking up large quantities
of water, from which they extract dissolved minerals, while regularly
squirting jets of expelled liquids from the anus. The fact that all
three genera aggregate at certain spots, usually separate from feeding
groups of Nymphalidae or Pieridae, suggests that they are reliant upon
particular minerals that are concentrated in one area.
species, more so than other Swordtails, is hesitant and nervous when
visiting sandbanks. It tends to dip down, briefly taste the damp sand
to test it's suitability, and then move on, but having found a
suitable feeding spot, usually where other Swordtails are aggregating,
it will remain settled for several minutes.