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:
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. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.