Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Pipe-vine Swallowtail
Battus philenor  LINNAEUS, 1771
subfamily - PAPILIONINAE
subtribe - BATTINA
Battus philenor  Huachuca, Arizona, USA Frank Model
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 philenor occurs is 5 subspecies, distributed variously from the southern states of the USA to Mexico. It also appears as a vagrant as far north as southern Canada.
This species occurs in sagebrush, coastal grasslands, and open areas within or adjoining deciduous or subtropical evergreen woodlands.
The eggs are orange, and are laid in small clusters of up to about 15, on the stems and petioles of the larval foodplants. The fully grown larva is black or reddish-black, with a double row of yellow or orange dorsal tubercles. It has short dark fleshy protuberances along the sides, and a pair of long dark forward-pointing protuberances on the first thoracic segment. It fees diurnally on Aristolochia vines ( Aristolochiaceae ), and reportedly also sometimes on Calonyction ( Convolvulaceae ), and on Polygonum ( Polygonaceae ). The larvae sequester toxins from the vines, and these afford them a degree of protection against insectivorous birds and reptiles. The toxins are inherited by the pupae and adult butterflies. The pupa occurs in green or pale brown colour forms, and has a series of flat plate-like dorsal protuberances. It has a contorted appearance, like a twisted bit of leaf. The green form is usually found attached to leaves or green stems, while the brown form predominates in pupae formed on woody twigs or branches.
Adult behaviour

Males imbibe mineralised moisture from damp ground, sometimes forming aggregations of a dozen or more. Both sexes nectar at Lantana, Aster, Cirsium and the flowers of various other herbaceous plants and shrubs.

Battus philenor Patagonia, Arizona, USA Frank Model



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