Notes on Swallowtail Population Dynamics of Three Papilio Species in South-Central Florida (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae).


  • J. M. Scriber
  • M. D. Deering
  • L. N. Francke
  • W. F. Wehling
  • R. C. Lederhouse


Asclepiadaceae, Battus, behavior, biology, Callosamia, Compositae, conservation, habitats, Hemiptera, hostplants, Iteaceae, Labiatae, Lauraceae, Magnoliaceae, Mantidae, Miridae, Nearctic, nectar sources, predation, Satumiidae, spiders


South-central Florida (Highlands County) has experienced unusually intense wetland and wooded habitat loss due to agricultural, ranching, and developmental drainage programs since the 1960's. During the last 20-30 years, general declines have been observed in the numbers of swallowtail butterflies (Papilio), with the exception of woodland and hammock preserves such as Highlands Hammock State Park. Here we report the last 6 years of population size estimates of Papilio glaucus, P. palamedes, and P. troilus, the most common swallowtail butterfly species in this county. We found that the frequency of dark (mimetic) morph P. glaucus has remained high (31-44%) for the last 10 years for all spring and fall broods observed unlike the low proportions before the 1960's drainage projects. In addition, we report on lizard, spider, and mantid predation on large Papilio adults.