In order to look at phenotypic differences in early stages and adults from
different populations one can capture adult females, which is relatively easy at
puddles at about mid-mornings. Females are then enticed to lay eggs. For
enticing females to lay it is nice to have potted LFPs.
|Two Indra Swallowtails puddling||Potted LFPs|
Environmental chambers are nice also, especially when the sun does not cooperate.
|Adult females in an environmental chamber|
However, the best way to find the butterfly in order to delineate populations is to find the LFP and then search for early stages. For this I use herbarium records and search for larvae at these sites.
|Mr. Haney searching for larvae on
graveolens in the Wasatch Range, UT
Indra females prefer to oviposit on the side of a plant nearest rocks, so looking for LFPs growing amongst rocks is best. Here's a plant growing in a great looking situation in a crevice of Navajo Sandstone.
|Indra host plant growing in rock crevice N of Moab.|
Frequently if you look closely at a good plant you can see the "tell-tale signs" of Indra Swallowtail presence.
|A spiked , or "caterpickled" plant
resulting from feeding by 4th and 5th instars.
And if you search real close at a nicely situated LFP you might find 5th instars hiding. Can you see them in the two photos below?
|Two 5th instars hiding in a typical manner||Two 5th instars hiding (closer shot)|
And sometimes, if you're lucky, you may
find a 5th instar feeding near the top of the larval host plant.
|P. i. minori 5th instar
in the wild on L. parryi.
If you're real lucky you might find a 5th instar resting right out in the open entirely off the LFP.
5th instar of P. i. minori resting in open.
|Another 5th instar resting in open.|
While I am out searching for early stages in a known Indra Swallowtail population I will frequently enhance the butterfly's habitat by creating more oviposition sites.
|A plant with rocks placed around it.|