Papilio zelicaon, Pine Unit Oil Field, Wibaux County, Montana, 1 May 2004
Papilio zelicaon Lucas, 1852
Tribe Papilionini, Fluted Swallowtails
There are about 600 species within the family Papilionidae. The family is made up
of 3 subfamilies, the Parnassiinae, which has about 50 species of Parnassians and
Apollos that are found mostly in the montane regions of the nothern hemisphere, the
Baroniinae, which has only 1 species, Baronia brevicomis from western Mexico, and
the Papilioninae, which has about 550 species found worldwide. The subfamily Papilioninae
is further divided into 4 tribes, the Teinopalpini, which include 2 species from
the Himalayas, the Troidini, which has about 130 worldwide species including the
birdwings, the Leptocircini, which has about 140 species and includes kite Swallowtails,
and the Papilionini, which has over 200 worldwide species and includes the fluted
swallowtails in which Papilio zelicaon belongs to.
Papilio zelicaon, wing detail, specimen from Minot State University collection, North
Papilio zelicaon in many habitats of the western U.S. It avidly collects nectar
and is a common garden visitor. Males are avid ‘hilltoppers.’ Along the eastern
edge of its range a form called “nitra” is seen in parts of the population. It is
believed these are from past inbreeding with Black Swallowtails.
Larval hostplants include many plants in the parsley family. Also introduced sweet
fennel (anise) and cultivated citrus. Larvae have eversible organs called osmeteria
that are used to chemically deter predators.
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