Polydamas Swallowtail Battus polydamas
Polydamas Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus polydamas
Polydamas Swallowtail Butterflies don't have tails like most of the swallowtail butterflies do. They are large dark butterflies with accents of yellow and red. This one is on Wild Poinsettia.
Their host plant, or the plant the butterflies lay eggs on, is Pipevine. There are numerous species or varieties of Pipevine, or Aristolochia. The caterpillars stay together in a group while they grow up; they look like a flock of caterpillars.
Large black and yellow Polydamas Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus polydamas, sipping nectar from Wild Poinsettia
Polydamas Swallowtail Eggs are small yellow balls. I find them in clusters, generally on the new growth where the vine is the most tender.
Large black and yellow Polydamas Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus polydamas, sipping nectar from Wild Poinsettia
Tiny Polydamas Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars clustered on the bottom of a Pipevine leaf
It's hard to find their chrysalides unless you raise them in containers. The Polydamas chrysalis looks like a green leaf that's folded up. I don't like to raise these caterpillars because they stink (I think because the vine smells bad when they chew it up). I enjoy the Polydamas Butterflies though, so I keep some Pipevine growing in my yard for them to lay eggs on.
The Polydamas caterpillars are a dark brownish black with orange spines. The spines are soft protrusions, not spiny at all. This caterpillar has its osmeterium sticking out because I poked it before I took the picture. The osmeterium is that forked yellow protrusion sticking out of the front of the caterpillar. It makes them smell worse.
Small round yellow eggss of a Polydamas Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus polydamas on Pipevine
Polydamas Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus polydamas brown caterpillar with orange spines and its yellow osmeterium sticking out
Polydamas Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus polydamas, chrysalis
Polydamas Swallowtail Butterfly, Battus polydamas
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