Battus philenor philenor

Photo Life History: Battus philenor philenor

Habitat:  Desert Hills & Mountains; Lower Sonoran Desert

Host Plants:  Aristolochia watsonii, Aristolochia durior, Aristolochia tomentosa

Suitable Lab Host Plants:  Most any species of pipevine will work in the lab.

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Feed females regularly.

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Open Screen Cages

How to Find Eggs: Arizona host plant, Aristolochia watsonii, can sometimes be very difficult to locate because it is small, tends to grow in understory, and often gets chewed to the ground by other pipevine swallowtail larvae.  If you live in SE Arizona and you're in a situation where females are spotted on the wing and you can't find A. watsonii, follow a female that is looking for host plant.  Usually, once she finds the host, there may be eggs and larvae already on the plant.  Host plants from the Eastern U.S., grow much larger and eggs can be located.  Focus on host plants with new growth. 

How to Hatch Eggs:  Separate eggs individually  (Larvae can be extremely cannibalistic at any instar when host plant is scarce.)

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field: 

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums; Open Bucket; Potted Plant  (Dutchman's pipevine works as an excellent host and is sold in many nurseries in 1 and five gallon pots.)  Regardless of your setup, always remember to provide plenty of host plant for larvae as they can be extremely cannibalistic if their is not enough host to support feeding caterpillars.

Larva to Pupa:  Larva purges and wanders

How to Find Pupae in the Field:  Subspecies hirsuta have been known to pupate right on the plant and have been found during the winter months.

Number of Broods per Year:  2-4; depending upon location.

Overwintering Stage:  Pupa. 

Overwintering Strategies: Your Own Backyard; Refrigerator

Post-Hibernation Strategies: Expose post-diapause pupae to warmer temperatures (room temperature) Long-Day Photoperiod; High Humidity.  (Mist spray pupae daily once your bring them out of the cold or refrigerator.)

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  Provide larvae with healthy host plant and expose larvae long-day conditions.

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every four to six days. 

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes:  This is a very interesting butterfly as young larvae are gregarious; but, can turn cannibalistic if not provided enough host plant.  If you rear this butterfly in a potted plant; pay close attention to wandering larvae.  Do not let them pupate in your setup as pupae can become eaten by other hungry larvae.