Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly - Battus philenor
Family Papilionidae - swallowtail butterflies

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Live swallowtail butterflies photographed in the wild at Alpharetta GA and Corpus Christi TX
Identification: Upper surface of hindwings iridescent blue or blue-green. Underside of hindwing with submarginal row of 7 round orange spots in iridescent blue field. Life history: Adult males patrol likely habitat in search of receptive females. Females lay batches of eggs on underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars feed gregariously when young but become solitary. Chrysalis overwinters.

Caterpillar host plants: Pipevine (Aristolochia species), including Aristolochia californica, A. serpentaria and others. Pipevines confer a poisonous quality to the larvae and resulting adults, much as the monarch butterfly obtains protection by feeding on milkweed. Adults seek nectar from flowers including thistles (Cirsium species), bergamot, lilac, viper's bugloss, common azaleas, phlox, teasel, azaleas, dame's-rocket, lantana, petunias, verbenas, lupines, yellow star thistle, buckeye and butterfly bush.


The Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) is a pipevine swallowtail mimic

References
  1. Opler, Paul A., Harry Pavulaan, Ray E. Stanford, Michael Pogue, coordinators. 2006. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Bozeman, MT: NBII Mountain Prairie Information Node
  2. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders (North America), Chanticleer Press 1980
  3. Eric Eaton & Ken Kaufman, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Hillstar Editions 2007
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Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.
Learn to identify many of the American Midwest's common species through descriptions and large diagnostic photos of live, wild specimens.
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© Red Planet Inc. Photos © Andrew Willias used with permission