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 Lomatium
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 feeding
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.


Rearing larvae