Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Re: [Westernvancnature] Pipevine Swallowtail‏

Female pipevine swallowtail [photo by Bill Dunson]
Female pipevine swallowtail [photo by Bill Dunson]

Pipevine swallowtail/dorsal & ventral views [photos by Bob Perkins]

Very nice story and photos Bob (see email below).

I just happened to come across a female pipevine myself today and enclose two photos of the same butterfly taken 30 minutes apart.  Look how different they appear.  I wonder why Bob's female showed no blue on the hindwing- was it possibly an artifact of the angle and lighting due to the iridescence of the coloring? Or do they sometimes lack the intense blue of the males?  Or is it lost by wear and tear?  

For those who rely only on Glassberg's book you will note on plate 1 that he shows a male pipevine but does not give the sex or indicate a female pattern.  Males lack the row of large white dots around the rear portion of the open hindwings.

If you have tried to photograph pipevines you may have found that they flap almost constantly, so getting a shot of the spread wing configuration is difficult.

Remember that this species is distasteful due to chemicals retained from the caterpillars feeding on toxic pipevines.  A group of "black and blue" swallowtails (such as the female black tiger), red spotted purple and female Diana fritillary apparently mimic the pipevine so as to discourage predation by birds.

Bill Dunson

From: "Bob Perkins"
To: "Westernvancnature"
Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 4:13:21 PM
Subject: Pipevine Swallowtail

Because female pipevine swallowtails (Battus philenor) are so plain on the dorsal side that one might wonder if he or she was seeing a worn specimen of a different dark swallowtail. Fortunately, the pattern on the ventral side is clearly definitive. Because a pipevine gave me the opportunity this morning, I took enough photos to get dorsal and ventral views. Enjoy!


Bob Perkins
Woodlawn, Virginia
Historian and General Outdoorsman

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