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Anybody Ever Heard of Two Different Butterfly Species Mating?

17 years ago

I've read that palamedes and spicebush swallowtails will sometimes fly in an upward spiral together. I've seen that happen a few times, but I think they may have just been competing for nectar plants in my garden.

Today I saw a male spicebush swallowtail clearly flirting with a palamedes swallowtail. I couldn't tell for sure if the palamedes was a female - there's so little difference between male and female palamedes, you have to get a really good look at them, which I didn't. The spicebush swallowtail was hovering over the palamedes, going back and forth like he was dousing her with perfume/pheromones, and she was going to the ground the way I see so many other butterflies do before they mate. I wonder if they might actually mate? Spicebush and palamedes swallowtails are very closely related - their caterpillars look almost identical, and their host plants are both in the laurel family. I always see a lot more male spicebush swallowtails than females, and I wonder if maybe he couldn't find a female spicebush, so he picked the closest thing, a female palamedes?

Anybody ever hear of this?


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