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Butterflies of North America -- Battus polydamas

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Butterflies of North America

Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas)
JPG -- species photo

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.

References:

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

Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas)
distribution map
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