Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
Tribe - TROIDINI
subtribe - TROIDINA
Rio Madre de Dios, Peru ©
and the related genera Battus and
Euryades are not true Swallowtails, but
are members of the Troidini, the same tribe to which the giant
Ornithoptera Birdwings of Papua New
The larvae of all
members of the Troidini feed on Aristolochia
vines. These contain toxins which are sequestered by the larvae and
passed to the adult butterflies, rendering them noxious to birds and
other vertebrate predators.
There are 34 members of the genus Parides,
all of which are confined to tropical and sub-tropical areas of
Central and South America. They are characterised by their elongated
blackish forewings, marked on the males of most species with
brilliant patches of turquoise or lime green, and on the females
with cream. The hindwings in most species are marked with bright
crimson patches, and are generally rounded and without tails, but
with a scalloped outer margin. There are exceptions to these general
rules however - Parides hahneli for
example has a series of broad transparent bands across the
forewings, and long tails on the hindwings. Another exception is
Parides quadratus which has black
forewings and large golden patches on the hindwings, and is strongly
reminiscent of the Troides Birdwings of
sesostris is a common species found from Mexico to Bolivia.
Claro, Colombia ©
This species occurs primarily in primary rainforest, at altitudes
between 0-1000m. There are small populations on the western slopes
of the Andes, but it is much more frequent on the eastern slopes and
in the Amazon basin.
Claro, Colombia ©
The egg is globular and is laid
singly on the leaves of young Aristolochia
plants. The caterpillar lives solitarily. When fully grown it is
dull ochreous in colour, marbled with darker hues, and spotted with
black. The tubercles are dark reddish brown, except those on
segments 8 and 11, which are white. The pupa is bright lime green,
flushed with pale yellow on the wing cases.
butterflies are short lived with a maximum life of about 8 days. They
are usually encountered along forest edges, and where light gaps occur
at the intersections of trails.
patrol back and forth visiting flowery patches in search of females.
Courtship takes place in late morning. After copulation the male plugs
the female genital opening with a sphragis to prevent other males from
sexes commonly visit Impatiens flowers,
and nectar at the flowers of trees and bushes in the family Rubiaceae.
Males occasionally mud-puddle on riverbanks.