Indra Swallowtail (Papilio indra Reakirt)
Wing span: 2 1/2 - 3 inches (6.2 - 7.2 cm).
Identification: Abdomen is all black, or black with a yellow dash on the side of the rear. Wings are mostly black with pale yellow markings. Tails are very short on most subspecies.
Life history: Males watch from rocky areas below tops of hills or mesas for receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on top of host plant leaves or on flowers. Caterpillars feed on the edges of leaves and hide at the base of plants. Chrysalids hibernate.
Flight: One flight, with occasional late-flying individuals of desert populations, March-August.
Caterpillar hosts: Aromatic herbs of the parsley family (Apiaceae) growing among rocks.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Mountains, desert mountains, and canyons.
Range: Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico north to South Dakota, west to Washington.
Conservation: Several subspecies occur entirely or primarily on Federal lands. These include kaibabensis (Grand Canyon National Park), minori (Colorado National Monument and B.L.M.), panamintensis (Death Valley National Monument), and martini (Mojave Desert National Preserve).
Management needs: Prevent removal of caterpillar host plants from public lands. Limit collection by permits.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Brown, J.W., Real, H.G., and D.K. Faulkner. 1992. Butterflies of Baja California. Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Beverly Hills, Calif. Comstock, J.A. 1927. Butterflies of California. Privately published, Los Angeles, Calif. [Facsimile available from Entomological Reprint Specialists, Los Angeles, Calif.] Dameron, W. 1997. Searching for butterflies in southern California. Flutterby Press, Los Angeles, Calif. Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida. Emmel, T. C. and J. F. Emmel. 1973. The Butterflies of Southern California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series No. 26. Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986. California Butterflies. California Natural History Guide 51. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. Langston, R.L. 1981. The Rhopalocera of Santa Cruz Island, California. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18: 24-35. Miller, Scott E. 1985. Butterflies of the Califorenia Channel Islands. Journal of the Research on the Lepidoptera 23: 282-296. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Orsak, L.J. 1977. The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Museum of Systematic Biology, University of california, Irvine. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Steiner, J. 1990. Bay Area Butterflies: The Distribution and Natural History of San Francisco Region Rhopalocera. Hayward, Calif.: Hayward State University, Masters Thesis. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Tilden, J.W. 1965. Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay Region. California Natural History Guide 12. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.