Androgeus Swallowtail and Caterpillar from Puerto Rico

about a caterpilar
Location: Puerto Rico
November 12, 2011 8:58 am
hey! I’m trying to find whats the name of the bugs I’m sending please replay as soon as possible
Signature: Jenny

Androgeus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Jenny,
Both your caterpillar and adult have a strong resemblance to the Giant Swallowtail, however, there are subtle differences that caused us to doubt that as the correct identification.  Here is a photo of a Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar from our archives and a photo of an adult Giant Swallowtail from our archives.  Our continued research brought us to the Adven Tours of Puerto Rico website and their butterfly list that included five swallowtails from Puerto Rico including the Androgeus Swallowtail that seemed to be a good match.  The Butterflies of Americawebsite pictures this sexually dimorphic species that indicates your adult is a male.  The Butterflies and Moths of North America website only pictures the female, but this information is included to support the larval food plant since your photos appear to be citrus leaves:  “Caterpillar Hosts: Leaves of trees in citrus (Rutaceae) family orange (Citrus sinensis) and Zanthoxylum elephantiasis.” 

Male Papilio androgeus emerges from Chrysalis

Finally, we located this nice image of a stamp from Cuba picturing this lovely butterfly.

Androgeus Swallowtail on a Cuban Stamp

Question from Keith Wolfe
November 13, 2011
Daniel, would it be possible to ask Jenny if she’s 100% sure that the splendid emerged butterfly resulted from the pictured brown and white caterpillar?  Thank you very much!
Best wishes,

Keith Wolfe writes back
November 17, 2011
Hi Daniel,
Despite your follow-up email to Jenny going unanswered, I’m nevertheless convinced that your identification of her caterpillar as an Androgeus Swallowtail (Papilio androgeus) is correct.  Good work, Bugman!  Although I recognize the larva, to include being familiar with several other look-alikes in its species group, I wanted to double-check with a scholarly list of Puerto Rican butterflies, such as this somewhat dated report — (tourism websites are not necessarily a reliable source of scientific information).  FYI on another young Androgeus Swallowtail from Ecuador —

Thanks for the vote of confidence Keith.  Your insightful contributions are always most welcomed.

hey! I’m sorry it took me so long to replay, but no the caterpillar is a totally different from the butterfly!


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