Battus philenor

Pipevine Swallowtail

Basic Information

General information

Family: Papilionidae
Sub Family: Papilioninae
Estimated Lifespan 14 Days

Garden Specific Information

Estimated Number In Flight: 0
Total Number of Pupae Received: 3276
First Flown On: 10/14/02
Last Flown On: 12/10/19

Species Range:

  • NorthAmerica

Host plants:

  • Larvae feed on Pipevines
  • plants in the genus Aristolochia. Some of the species they are known to eat are A. californica and A. serpentaria.

Food Source

Adults are known to visit a wide variety of nectar plants.

Etymology Of Name

In Greek mythology Battus was a shepherd that witnessed Hermes stealing Apollo’s cattle. The species philenor is currently unknown.


Individuals visit open fields looking for nectar. They are also seen flying along forest edges and throughout wooded areas. They only visit these habitats if the host plant is growing in the vicinity.

Life history

Males patrol the habitat looking for receptive females. After copulation, females look for host plants to lay their eggs on, usually on the underside of the leaves. The caterpillars feed on the host plant until they are ready to form their pupae.


In the warmest parts of their range, adults can be found year round. In the northern part of their range adults may only be found in the summer months.

Fun Facts

Due to the host plant that the Pipevine Swallowtail feeds on it is believed that the species is unpalatable to birds. Some species of butterflies mimic the Pipevine for this very reason, including the Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) and the black female form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus).