Insect Identification logo

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Pipevine Swallowtail, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 8/1/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Pipevine Swallowtail  
Picture of Pipevine-Swallowtail
Picture of Pipevine-Swallowtail Picture of Pipevine-SwallowtailPicture of Pipevine-Swallowtail

The Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly is a dark beauty with a range that covers most of the U.S. and Mexico.

This butterfly mimics the coloring the Spicebush and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. They have elongated 'tails' at the tips of their hindwings, as do all members of the Swallowtail family.

Rusty-black caterpillars have clusters of bright red hairs feed along the top and sides of the body. They fee on noxious pipevines like snakeroot and Dutchman's pipe. They build up a body of the unsavory chemical and render their adult form somewhat unpleasant to eat. Birds and other predators usually learn to avoid eating the adults. Other butterflies with similar coloring benefit from the Pipevine Swallowtail's bitter-tasting reputation.

Adults can be found in a variety of habitats including gardens, forests, canyons and meadows. two to 4 generations can be produced a year in warm climates. Males can be seen congregating at 'puddle parties' where they take in water and minerals. They are less inclined to continually flutter their wings when they are at puddles and pond edges, allowing for a better look at them.

Picture of the Pipevine Swallowtail
Picture of the Pipevine Swallowtail

Pipevine Swallowtail Information

Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common Name: Pipevine Swallowtail
Scientific Name: Battus philenor

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Lepidoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Papilionidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Battus
       Arrow graphic Species: philenor

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 70 mm to 86 mm (2.73 inches to 3.354 inches)
Identifying Colors: black; blue; white; orange; yellow; red
Additional Descriptors: flying, spotted, bumpy, centipede

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

Images Gallery


BugFinder: What is it?