Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas [Linnaeus])
Wing span: 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 inches (9 - 12 cm).
Identification: Lacks tails. Black above with submarginal yellow band.
Life history: Female lays eggs in groups of 10-14 on exposed new stems or growing tips of vines. Caterpillars feed in groups when young. Overwinter as chrysalids.
Flight: Two-3 flights from April-November.
Caterpillar hosts: Pipevines (Aristolochia species).
Adult food: Nectar of lantana. Occasionally seen feeding on honeysuckle and soapweed flowers.
Habitat: Open woods, abandoned fields, disturbed areas.
Range: South Texas and peninsular Florida south to Argentina. Strays north to Kentucky and Missouri.
Conservation: None noted.
Management needs: Manage habitat for caterpillar host plant and nectar sources.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Covell, Charles. 1998. The Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) of Kentucky: an Annotated Checklist. Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Frankfort, KY. Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON. 280 pp. Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.