Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Found Polydamas Swallowtail Caterpillars

pipe vine

Polydamas caterpillars eat Pipevines. We have a huge Pipevine in are back yard. These Swallowtails are also known as Gold Rim Swallowtails. The Female butterfly lays 10 to 14 eggs in a group. The caterpillars of Polydamas Swallowtail eat together while young.

Polydamas Swallowtail caterpillar

Every summer the Polydamas butterfly comes back to lay eggs on our pipevine. I was outside watching a Cloudless Sulphur lay eggs, (don’t worry I’ll post pictures of that butterfly), when I noticed a butterfly attracted to our pipevine. I went over to take a closer look when I found these HUGE caterpillars. I was so excited! I found them just in time because they are soon going to make a chrysalis. I brought in four so far. These two in my hand will soon make a chrysalis. It will probably be a while before they emerge as butterflies because they stay the winter in a chrysalis.  


I brought in three big caterpillars and one small one. These hungry caterpillars devour their host plant every summer, but it quickly grows back for them to eat again.


I put a stick inside the container for them to pupate on. They quickly found it.


I think it found its pupation spot! I can’t wait to post more pictures for you to see.

Want to help the Polydamas Swallowtail by providing a host plant for it to eat? It eats Pipevines in the Aristolochia species. (Make sure not to spray ANY pesticides on the plant). Its range is, South Texas and peninsular Florida south to Argentina. If you live in this area you will get a visit from the Polydamas Swallowtail.

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