New Jersey Butterflies

Pipevine Swallowtail

Battus philenor

Identification: Large—3.6" (similar to Black Swallowtail). Above: FW black with faint submarginal white spots; HW mostly iridescent blue (amount of blue seen depends on angle of view). Below: FW mostly black with short row of pale spots. HW with striking curved line of large orange spots set within iridescent blue.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Primarily a southern species that is uncommon and very local. Can turn up anywhere pipevines (Aristolochia) are planted.

NJ Range Map-Pipevine Swallowtail

Habitat: Open, sunny, upland fields with flowers. Can be attracted to gardens with pipevines, and with flowers such as Butterfly Bush, Purple Coneflower, Wild Bergamot, and milkweeds.

Flight Period: Late April to late October with peaks in mid-May to late June, and mid-July to mid-August. The summer brood is much larger than the spring brood. Extreme dates: North Jersey 4/11—11/9; South Jersey 4/17—10/26.

Larval Food Plants: Mostly ornamental species in the genus Aristolochia. Our only native species (A. serpentaria), which is rare, is also probably used.

Overwintering Stage: Pupa.

Best Locations: Palisades Interstate Park, Kittatinny Valley SP, White Lake NRA, Whittingham WMA, Cape May Bird Observatory CRE Gardens.

Comments: The gardener who plants pipevines has a good chance to attract this beautiful butterfly and its bizarre-looking larvae.



Pipevine Swallowtail

Walpack Twp, Sussex Co., NJ, 6/22/10, on Wild Bergamot.


Pipevine Swallowtail

Fredon Twp., Sussex Co., NJ, 7/23/08, on Purple Coneflower, showing variation in amount of blue visible depending upon the angle of view.


Pipevine Swallowtail

Palisades Interstate Park, Bergen Co., NJ, 8/6/08, on Plumeless Thistle.


Pipevine Swallowtail larva

Late instar larva of Pipevine Swallowtail.


Pipevine Swallowtail chrysalis

Chrysalis of Pipevine Swallowtail.


Dutchman's Pipe

Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla), native to the southeast but not to NJ, is a widely planted ornamental species readily accepted by Pipevine Swallowtail larvae.