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Pipevine Swallowtail - Battus philenor - female

Pipevine Swallowtail - Battus philenor - Female
Parkwood, Durham County, North Carolina, USA
June 13, 2004
Freshly emerged individual. The rather dull hindwings indicate this is a female.

Just wondering,
since I noticed you've posted a lot of images of this species at different stages, are you perhaps raising them? I ask because I have a larva right now and am struggling to keep up with its voracious appetite, as pipevine is pretty rare in my neighborhood. I'm wondering how much longer I'll have to scour my neighbor's yards for Aristolochia serpentaria. I've had this guy since he was an egg and he's now almost 2" and about 13 days old (sorry I forgot to note the hatching day - lamentably unscientific). Hannah N-M

Pipevine's voracious appetite
Yes, I've been cultivating Aristolochia serpentaria for years for the cats. Sometimes I'll capture a mature cat. and get it to pupate where I can watch it. So I'm raising under semi-wild conditions.

I have the same problems. The females often lay too many eggs for the available plants. Right now two hordes have devoured all of my Aristolochia and I think the rest of the cats are going to starve.

13 days, 2" sounds about right for pupation. I'd keep feeding it if you can, maybe in a big jar with ventilation holes. At some point it should quit eating and start to wander. Provide a couple of upright sticks in the jar, and it will probably climb up one and pupate. If you are lucky, you'll get an adult in about two weeks. (I'm 2/6 successful emergences this year, however--sometimes they die in the chrysalis, or maybe delay?)
Hope this helps.
Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

As it happens
I have already provided a stick for this guy, as he became very restless a few days ago and I hoped he was going to pupate. He actually climbed up the stick and rested there a whole day without eating, but then attacked the vines again. I've noticed that now he uses the stick to sleep on, as he's too heavy for the little vines to support.

Hard to believe this species ever manages to survive, with the odds stacked so heavily against it. There are so many rampant vines around here, it's weird that it evolved to eat the tiny little one with only about five leaves per plant. Hannah N-M

I'm always amazed when I successfully raise a caterpillar. I figure most must get parasitised. Hannah will probably have better luck since it sounds like her's was captive born and raised and therefore shielded from parasites. I usually find mine as larva and keep them outside, usually surrounded by hardware cloth. Often what emerges from the pupae are NOT what I expected!

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