If you ever see a Pipevine Swallowtail in your garden, you definitely will notice it. They have the most beautiful blue iridescent hindwing. you will see in North America. It really is an attention-getter. It's also been called the Blue Swallowtail because of this blue iridescence. Wing span is 2 3/4- 3 3/8 inches. The underside of the hind wing has one row of seven orange spots in an iridescent blue field. It's easy to distinguish from the Spicebush and Black Swallowtails if you remember that the Spicebush and Black have two rows of orange spots. This foul-tasting butterfly is mimicked by six other butterflies in the eastern US, including four that live in Florida (Spicebush Swallowtail, the black form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, the female Black Swallowtail, and the Red-spotted Purple).
In earlier times this species seems to have been more common in the Northeast, perhaps because ornamental pipevines were common garden plants in Victorian times. The growth of butterfly gardening may bring them back!!! This has caused their range to expand.
Eggs are clustered, and rust colored, and laid on the undersides of host plants. Mature caterpillar is rust-black with black or red projections, longest on head. It's quite distasteful to birds because of chemicals contained in the leaves of the pipevines Aristolochia on which it feeds. Duchman's pipe Aristolochia macrophylla, along with native hosts A. durior, A. reticulata, and A. serpentaria (or snakeroot) are host plants. Chrysalis is lavender to greenish-yellow or pale brown; has sculptured curves, angles, and horns. Butterflies nectar on thistles, bergamot, lilac, viper's bugloss, azaleas, phlox, teasel, dame's-rocket, lantana, petunias, verbina's, lupines, yellow star thistle, California buckeye, honeysuckle, milkweed, buddleia, orchids, penta, and porterweed. In my garden, they LOVE coral porterweed. They prefer open woodlands, canyons, meadows. fields, gardens. streamsides, orchards and roadsides.
As you can see from my pictures, they are not easy to photograph. The wings are in constant motion, so you can't get a 'still' shot. The photographer who took the first pic at the top is better than I am! And luckier ;-)
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