Caterpillars of the
World - Peru
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
Tribe - TROIDINI
family Papilionidae is comprised of about 600 species, found
throughout the world in almost every environment including deserts,
mountains, grasslands, tropical rainforests, temperate forest,
meadows, marshes and coastal dunes.
are 3 subfamilies. The Parnassiinae comprises about 50 species,
known as Apollos, which breed in mountainous areas of the northern
hemisphere. The Papilioninae comprises of about 550 species of
worldwide distribution, and includes the Swallowtails, Dragontails
and the giant Birdwings of south-east Asia. The other subfamily
Baroniinae consists of a single species
Baronia brevicornis which is endemic to the mountains of
are 33 species in the genus Parides,
which is the neotropical "sister" genus of the
Troides Birdwings of the Oriental region.
Parides anchises occurs in most of the
tropical and subtropical areas of Central and South America, from
Mexico to Bolivia. There are 20 subspecies.
This species is a
denizen of lowland rainforests, and is found at altitudes between
caterpillars of all Papilionidae bear tubercules when in their first
instar. In some genera such as Papilio
and Eurytides these are absent in the
mature larva, but in others including Troides,
Parides they develop into soft fleshy appendages.
Papilionidae larvae are equipped with an extrusible forked appendage
- the osmaterium, which is situated behind the head. This is everted
if the larva is molested, and gives off a noxious odour containing
isobutyric acid, which is believed to be used as a defence against
caterpillar illustrated above is of subspecies
nephalion, which is found in southern Ecuador, eastern Peru
and in Mato Grosso state, Brazil.
Both sexes are
typical of the genus Parides, having
black wings, with the hindwings marked with pink. In some subspecies
such as P. anchises foetterlei the pink
markings are contiguous and form a single large patch, while in
others including nephalion they are
greatly reduced, and separated into a series of smallish spots. The
pink makings are always more extensive in the females, which also
have a suffused white patch in the centre of the forewings. Males on
the other hand have a large patch of brilliant metallic green scales
on their forewings, and are a beautiful sight when seen fluttering
gently around flowering bushes.
Parides anchises nephalion, Rio
Pindayo, Peru ©