North American Range
This dazzling butterfly is only a vagrant in our state; most have been reported from gardens late in the season. Partial to open habitats, they are able to protect themselves from most predators by using toxic chemicals sequestered as caterpillars from their hostplants, in the Pipevine family (Aristolochia). So successful is the Pipevine at warding off predators with their noxious taste, that several swallowtail species mimic their pattern and coloration.
A large butterfly, though on the smaller side for a swallowtail. Upper surface of hindwing iridescent blue or blue-green. Underside of hindwing with submarginal row of 7 round orange spots in iridescent blue field.
Vagrant. There are no historic records for Vermont, but four were reported during VBS. It was first recorded on 24 July 2003 in Pownal (K. Hemeon). Other records are 13 June 2004 in Searsburg (K. Hemeon), 2 October 2005 in Middletown (S. Martineau), and 7 October 2005 in Thetford (B. Shepard).
Distribution and Habitat
Found in a variety of open habitats including residential gardens, open woodlands and shrublands. Larvae feed on plants in the Pipevine family (Aristolochia). Adults nectar on an array of both wild and garden flowers such as lilacs (Syringa), thistle (Cirsium), and milkweeds (Asclepias).