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Pipe Vine Swallowtail Butterfly – (Buttus philenor)
I took a picture of this Pipe Vine Swallowtail butterfly at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (sccf.org) aviary which has a very nice collection of butterflies. The Pipe Vine Swallowtail has hind wings that are iridescent blue and fore wings that are black. This butterfly might actually be an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (female) since they can mimic the appearance of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is poisonous to its predators because of the chemical it ingests from its host plant when it is a caterpillar. Mimicry is a common defense mechanism among many animals and it can be either its appearance, sounds, scent, location or behavior. The Pipe Vine Swallowtail is common in North and Central America and can be seen in forests and several other habitats. It’s host plant is the Birthwort or family of Aristolochia plants.