Papilio indra UT West Desert segregate

Photo Life HistoryPapilio indra UT West Desert segregate

Habitat:  Utah's West Desert Mountain Ranges

Host Plants:  Lomatium grayi depauperatum

Suitable Lab Host PlantsLomatium graveolens; Cymopterus terebinthinus calcareus; Tauschia arguta; Lomatium grayi grayi*

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Feed females regularly.

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Open Screen Cages;  This brief video shows a female indra laying an egg in an open screen cage.  Placing host between rocks in a cage seems to help.

How to Find Eggs:  Eggs on Peripheral Stalks;  Seek out host plants that are exceptionally healthier than other sun-scorched plants within a population.  This usually equates to plants situated between rocks.  Females will lay eggs on these types of plants.

How to Hatch Eggs:  Consolidate eggs into one container

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field:  Once you understand where Papilio indra females prefer to lay eggs, the key to finding caterpillars has a lot to do with understanding and recognizing the progressional change in caterpillar feeding damage and resting preferences as caterpillars progress through its instars.

Caterpillar Feeding Damage:  See this slide show.   Look for unique first instar skeletonizing chew marks on stalks where eggs are likely to have been laid.  Third instars rest at the base of the plant whereas late instar larvae "strip down" the host plant leaves; but leave the central stalk in tact.

Caterpillar Resting Positions:  See this slide show.  First instar indra larvae rest up-side-down on the stalks of its host plant.  Third instar larvae tend to move away from the periphery of the host plant to rest at its base.  Fourth and fifth instars rest at the base of the host or off the host altogether.

Caterpillar setups:  For first through fourth instars, I recommend using the Open terrariums or Open Bucket technique.  If you're only rearing a few fifth instar caterpillars, I recommend using a Closed Container--Papilio indra.  For more information, please see this video to see why I recommend using a closed container for later instars.  (I'm not very popular with this suggestion; but it has worked well for me.) 

Larva to Pupa:  Larva purges and wanders.

Number of Broods per Year: 1

Overwintering Stage:  Pupa.  

Overwintering Strategies: Your Own Backyard; Refrigerator

Post-Hibernation Strategies: Expose Pupae to warmer temperatures; Long-Day Photoperiod; and High Humidity.

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  Not applicable.

Disease Prevention:  Critical for P. indra!  Some information is provided in Utah Lepidopterist

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes: Dr. Wayne Whaley has done extensive research on the entire Papilio indra complex.  Click here for more information on the Utah West Desert segregate of Papilio indra from Wayne's site.  Click here for more information from the Utah Lepidopterists' Society website.