Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
subtribe - BATTINA
ovipositing on Aristolochia
© 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. Both sexes of
polydamas are similar in appearance.
Battus polydamas produces 20 subspecies
occuring variously in south-east USA, on most Caribbean islands, and
throughout most of Central and South America as far south as
species occurs in a wide variety of habitats including
secondary rainforest, humid deciduous woodland, open scrubby
grassland, coastal habitats, parks and gardens, at altitudes between
sea level and about 500m.
The eggs are laid in
clusters of between 6-20 around the leaf stems of various
Aristolochia species including
fimbriata, pilosa and
leuconeura. The larvae are dark red with fleshy thorn-like
dorsal and lateral tubercules. Most of the tubercules are the same
colour as the body but those arising dorsally from segments 6 and 10
are yellowish-orange. In the early instars the larvae feed
gregariously on the underside of leaves of the foodplant. When older
they disperse and feed singly. The chrysalis is leaf-like in
appearance, and occurs in 2 morphs, either bright green or dull
brown according to the substrate on which it is formed. It has a
prominent thoracic keel, a pair of dorsal abdominal keels, and
lateral keels protruding from the inner margin of the wing pads.
are usually encountered as singletons. They can often be seen imbibing
mineralised moisture from dry river beds or from the edges of small
streams. Females are seen less frequently but can sometimes be seen
nectaring at Vochysia or
Hamelia. In common with most other
Papilionidae, all Battus species tend to
rapidly flutter their wings for several minutes when feeding.