Ruby-spotted Swallowtail (Papilio anchisiades Esper)
Wing span: 2 3/4 - 4 inches (7 - 10 cm).
Identification: Large and black with no tails. Female's upper forewing cell has diffuse white patch; hindwing has postmedian pink patch.
Life history: Females lay eggs in groups on host plant leaves. Caterpillars rest in clusters on host plant during the day and feed at night; they all feed and molt at the same time.
Flight: Several from May-October.
Caterpillar hosts: Trees in the citrus (Rutaceae) family including Citrus, Casimiroa, and Zanthoxylum species.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Lowland tropical forests, citrus groves, gardens.
Range: From south Texas south to Argentina. A rare stray to Kansas, southeast Arizona, and west Texas.
Conservation: Not usually required. Status should be determined in south Texas (may be extirpated).
Management needs: None noted.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Beutelspacher, C. R. 1984. Mariposas de Mexico, Fasciculo I. La Prensa Medica Mexicana, S. A. 171 pages, 20 color plates. DeVries, P. J. 1987. The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 327 pages, 50 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:
Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo.