Taken in Tucson, Arizona using a Canon Powershot SX110IS
Pipevine Swallowtails frequent a variety of flowers in desert and foothills as well as verbenas and lantanas in city gardens. Often, they are one of the first butterflies seen on summer mornings, wither in flight or basking with wings open to the sun’s warmth. On hot days, adults visit puddles and damp spots.
Their ornate, reddish larvae feed avidly on pipevine leaves, ingesting aristolochic acids that make them and their adults unpalatable. Several other species, such as the red-spotted purple, mimic the appearance of poisonous pipevine adults to avoid being eaten. Species distasteful to birds and other predators often are brightly colored to advertise that they are poisonous.