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Butterfly Gardening Blog

Welcome! This blog is mostly about butterfly gardening, but other types of plants and gardens, as well as other wildlife is blogged about too.

May 7, 2006

P. polyxenes or joanae?

Filed under: Swallowtails — Butterflygirl @ 12:43 pm

I posted earlier about some of the caterpillars I had seen on my Golden Alexanders and how I was curious about which species exactly they were.

Here are a couple other pictures – two different caterpillars, both eating Golden Alexander leaves:

Black Swallowtail caterpillar eating Golden Alexander leaf.

Another Black Swallowtail caterpillar eating Golden Alexander leaf.

The thing is, the bigger one that had been on the Yellow Pimpernel a couple days before seems to have moved over to the Golden Alexanders. I can’t be certain it was the same one though of course. But the large one was gone and suddenly a second large one appeared on the other plant that I hadn’t noticed before.

So are they Papilio polyxenes or joanae? I have not actually seen eggs on the Golden Alexanders yet, but did see an adult behaving as though she might ovi-deposit (sp?) there. Would only P. jonae lay eggs on Golden Alexanders? Or might P. polyxenes do it too? Or maybe all were laid on the Yellow Pimpernel and moved over to the Golden Alexanders? But why would P. polyxenes be interested in Golden Alexanders? Any insight into this would be appreciated.

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