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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Belus Swallowtail
Battus belus  CRAMER, 1777
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
subfamily - PAPILIONINAE
Tribe - TROIDINI
subtribe - BATTINA
Battus belus Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
Battus, and the related genera Parides and 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 Battus species is similar to the underside but has a slight greenish sheen and lacks the submarginal red spots. Some Battus species e.g. devilliersii, zetides and certain races of philenor have tails on the hindwings, but the remainder are tail-less.
Battus belus occurs throughout much of Central and South America from Mexico to Bolivia.
Habitats
This species occurs in forested habitats at altitudes between 0-1000m.
Lifecycle
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.
Adult behaviour

Males are usually encountered as singletons when imbibing mineralised moisture from the edges of 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 birds.

Battus belus Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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