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Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

white-lined sphinx moth

side view of pipevine swallowtail

DESCRIPTION: WS=2.4-4.75" (60-120mm). Upper surface is black with bluish hindwing; lower surface has a row of 7 orange spots.
Family Papilionidae, Subfamily Papilioninae.
NATURAL HISTORY: Adults most commonly seen February-November. Caterpillars feed on pipevines, making the adults distasteful. Other butterflies (e.g., female Black Swallowtail and Diana Fritillary) mimic the Pipevine Swallowtail to avoid predation (this is an example of Batesian Mimicry in which edible/nondangerous species mimic inedible/dangerous species). Most species in this genus are tropical, but the Pipevine Swallowtail is the northern-most species in this genus.