Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Pipevine Swallowtail
Battus philenor (Linnaeus, 1771)


Family: Papilionidae
Subfamily: Papilioninae
Identification: Upper surface of hindwing iridescent blue or blue-green. Underside of hindwing with submarginal row of 7 round orange spots in iridescent blue field.
Wing Span: 2 3/4 - 5 inches (7 - 13 cm).
Life History: Adult males patrol likely habitat in search of receptive females. Females lay batches of eggs on underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars feed in small groups when young but become solitary when older. Wintering is by the chrysalis.
Flight: In the East and California, adults fly primarily in late spring (though as early as late February or March) and summer, but the butterfly is commoner in late summer and fall in the South and Southwest. Where lack of freezing temperatures permit, adults ma
Caterpillar Hosts: Pipevines (Aristolochia species), including Aristolochia californica, A. serpentaria and others.
Adult Food: Solely nectar from flowers including thistles (Cirsium species), bergamot, lilac, viper's bugloss, common azaleas, phlox, teasel, azaleas, dame's-rocket, lantana, petunias, verbenas, lupines, yellow star thistle, California buckeye, yerba santa, brodiaeas, and gilias.
Habitat: A wide variety of open habitats, open woodland, and woodland edges.
Range: Rare stray to Canada (s. Manitoba). Tropical lowlands south to southern Mexico.
Conservation: Normally not of high conservation concern, although states at northern limits have listed under state law. These listings are of dubious value where species is not a permanent resident.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: Management of habitats to ensure survival of host plant colonies is the only possible concern.
Comments: NULL