The first three of our western tiger swallowtails (Papilio rutulus) pupae, all males, have eclosed. Stock originated from a single pairing between reared female and wild male in Albany, California, Summer 2017.
After a long wait, the first three of our rutulus (Papilio rutulus) pupae have eclosed, one after another, starting from early in the morning (7-8 AM) to mid-morning, which is typical for this species. (Technically, one of them, a male, already eclosed during the shipment of the pupae and a female eclosed in Albany before the pupae were sent.) All three are male, which is not too surprising, but may be problematic for hand-pairing considering it may be unlikely that three females will eclose in time, later.
The first male that eclosed is the largest, perhaps coming out of one of the largest male pupae that we have. It is a deep shade of yellow, with blue and yellow bands along the wings that are quite thick. The chain of yellow spots on the hind wings are large and slightly crescent-shaped, creating a miniature series of additional tails; the set just below the true swallowtail tails are somewhat reminiscence of Papilio multicaudata. These traits seem to be characteristic among California populations, particularly along the coast.
This individual was especially hungry, perhaps because of its larger size and because it eclosed earliest today. When we very carefully placed it on a blooming lilac (Syringa sp.), a swallowtail favorite, it started plunging its proboscis into the flowers to drink.
The second one is slightly smaller than the first, blacker and paler yellow, and perhaps a bit plumper, but is otherwise quite similar in overall appearance, which is not surprising considering they are immediate siblings.
The last one is quite small such that the wing shape is more triangular and the ratio of the non-black colors is lsess.
None of these are a perfect match for any of the many males we encountered last year at Albany Hill in Alameda County, California. Rather, they, unsurprisingly, very closely resemble the parents, particularly the mother. Both parents also had very long tails. In any case, we feel that these phenotypes are quite spectacular compared to what we have seen. It will be interesting to see the adults of the F1 generation should successfully inbreed these later.
Brian Liang is a student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York pursuing an undergraduate degree in entomology. He is co-owner and a main contributor of the Liang Insects blog, insects articles, and site design.
Ithaca, New York
This timeline is a series of daily posts recording our observations and experiences with various insects (primarily Lepidoptera) around the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, starting from the time we moved here in 2017. As this is a personal blog, we try to keep collections/rearings for university research and course work to a minimum, and mainly focus on just the species we catch and raise for our own fun and interest. Posts prior to this time can be viewed at Timeline 2012-2017: Albany, California, though there is occasionally some crossover when we have returned home during breaks or reared stock derived from home (see Albany, California Updates).
July 2020 (1)
August 2019 (2)
July 2019 (35)
June 2019 (46)
May 2019 (20)
March 2019 (1)
January 2019 (1)
September 2018 (1)*
August 2018 (9)*
July 2018 (11)*
June 2018 (22*)
May 2018 (18)*
April 2018 (2)*
January 2018 (6)
December 2017 (5)
November 2017 (1)
October 2017 (5)
September 2017 (26)
August 2017 (19)
*Currently, a significant portion of 2018 posts are missing. The notes/photos for this time period are saved on our personal files but the posts were never built due to a busy schedule that year. We are still actively building these posts when we have the time.
Full Species List
(Alphabetical by scientific name)
- Not every species we encounter is necessarily presented on this site, rather a selection of those that were of particular interest to us and that we felt were worth documenting.
- We can't guarantee that all species have been identified accurately, particularly taxa we are not as familiar with.
Battus philenor hirsuta
Liminitis arthemis arthemis
Limenitis arthemis astyanax
Papilio polyxenes asterius
Papilio polyxenes asterius × Papilio zelicaon
Albany, California Updates