The larval food plants
Indra Swallowtail butterfly LFPs are restricted to perennials in the family Apiaceae. Of the many apiaceous plants in Western North America, Indra Swallowtails use just a hand full-currently 21 are documented, barring any mistakes in identification. Utah alone has over 70 apiaceous species and just 9 of these are documented LFPs, with only 7 being used on a regular basis.
From over 2,000 herbarium records, I have determined the ranges of these 21 LFPs and listed them by state and by Indra subspecies (unpublished manuscript). Of the 21 species, twelve have very limited distributions, several of these being restricted to a single county (or two) within a state. California has the most endemic LFPs (4) used by this butterfly. These are indicated below with an asterisk by the plant's scientific name. California also has the most Indra races (7 of the 12). California and Utah have the most documented Indra LFPs within their borders-8 and 9 respectively.
Shown below are photographs of the LFPs as an aid for identification in the field. Most of these plants contain highly aromatic oils, the majority of which are pleasant. For example, Lomatium parryi smells like a mix of pine needles and citrus and Cymopterus terebinthinus is similar, except with a stronger citrus-like bouquet. Lomatium junceum has an obvious pine scent, while L. grayi var. depauperatum and L. californicum both smell like celery. Cymopterus hendersonii has an anise scent. Familiarization with the aromas of many of these plants will aid in their identification.
New for 2004: Ten eggs and larvae were found on Ranger's Buttons (Sphenosciadium capitellatum) near Tioga Pass on 24 July 2004. Click here for images.
Let's now look at
the ranges of these plants along with photographs of each species.
You can click on the highlighted areas of each map to see details of the species of plant indicated.