The Rio Grande Valley's Nature Site

Polydamas Swallowtail - Battus polydamas Life Cycle Study

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On 8/10/2007, I observed a Polydamas Swallowtail - Battus polydamas laying eggs on Common or Wooly Dutchman's Pipe - Aristolochia tomentosa.  I brought the eggs inside for rearing, and began a three month wait for the butterfly to emerge.

All photos on this site are by Jan Dauphin and are copyright protected and may not be used or published elsewhere without the permission of Jan Dauphin

Common Dutchman's Pipe (Pipevine) - Aristolochia tomentosa is a scarce, non-native vine in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  It is a host plant for Polydamas Swallowtail - Battus polydamas, and Pipevine Swallowtail - Battus philenor, both of which occur in the LRGV.


Polydamas Swallowtail - Battus polydamas eggs were laid on 8/10/2007 on Common Dutchman's Pipe-Aristolochia tomentosa, in our yard.  The eggs were in a scattered mass and were collected for rearing.  The eggs shown above are 5 days old.


Day-7 (8/17/2007) from eggs being laid and the caterpillars begin to eclose, beginning Day-1 as caterpillars.


Day-7 (8/17/2007) from eggs being laid, and the caterpillars begin to eclose, beginning Day-1 as caterpillars.


Day-12 (8/22/07) from the eggs and 5 days as caterpillars.  It has been interesting to watch the 12 caterpillars eat and stay as a group, ever since they hatched.  


Day-15 (8/25/2007) from the eggs, and 8 days as caterpillars.  Today, I discarded all but two caterpillars.


Day-19 (8/29/2007) from the egg, and 12 days as a caterpillar.  Another caterpillar was discarded, so I only had to deal with one.


Day-23 (9/2/2007) from the egg, and Day-16 as a caterpillar.


Day-27 (9/6/2007) from the egg, and 20 days as a caterpillar, and the caterpillar forms a "J".


Day-28 (9/7/2007) from the egg, 21 days as a caterpillar and it formed its chrysalis, overnight (Day-1 in chrysalis).


Day-41 (9/20/2007) from the egg, and Day 13 as a chrysalis.


Day-51 (9/30/2007) from the egg, and Day 23 as a chrysalis.


Day-61 (10/20/2007) from the egg, and Day-33 as a chrysalis.


Day-93 from when the egg was first laid on 8/10/2007; 86 days from when caterpillars emerged from the egg (8/17/2007); and the Polydamas Swallowtail - Battus polydamas emerges and is released on 11/11/2007.