Home / Swallowtail (Papilionidae) / California Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor hirsute)

California Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor hirsute)

California Pipevine Swallowtail

Being the pipevine swallow tail’s subspecies, this species is indigenous to the North California region of the United States of America.

Description and Identification


California Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

They are black in color with a fleshy lump on their body along with red spots all over its body.

Scientific Classification


California Pipevine Swallowtail Pupa

The pupa may be brown or green in color, with the sides having a winged appearance mostly like that of the Pipevine swallowtail butterfly.

Adult Butterfly

Sex Dimorphism: Not Present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are opened an iridescent greenish-blue hue with red spots are seen. When the wings are closed they are mostly black with asymmetrical orange and white spots.

These butterflies have a smaller size with a more hairy body in comparison to the pipevine swallowtail, their main species.

California Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly
Battus Philenor Hirsute

Average Wingspan: 70mm to 130 mm (2.75-5.11 inch)

Flight Pattern: Fast


 The eggs are laid in large sized clutches in comparison to their species.

Quick Facts

Distribution Throughout Northern California from the Sacramento valley to Contra Costa as well as Alameda counties
Habitat Warm, temperate regions, mostly in forest areas near the California pipevine plant
Lifespan of Adults About 7 to 14 days
Host plants California pipevine
Adult diet Floral nectar from several plants

Did You Know

  • Tim Wong an aquatic biologist at the California Academy of Sciences constructed a home for butterflies in the backyard of his dwelling place where the California Pipevine Swallowtail was found alongside other species.
  • Their numbers had declined drastically and revival to some extent was made in 2017.
  • The California pipevine plant from which they derive their name contains aristolochic acid, a toxic substance, which is why the juvenile, as well as adult species, have toxin content in their tissues.
California Pipevine Swallowtail Life Cycle
Hairy Pipevine Swallowtail
California Pipevine Swallowtail Images

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