Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
subtribe - BATTINA
© 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. 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.
species occurs in forested habitats at altitudes between 0-1000m.
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 when imbibing mineralised
moisture from the edges of streams. Both sexes nectar at
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.