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Schaus Swallowtail Heraclides aristodemus poceanus (Papilio aristodemus)


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Schaus Swallowtail
© George Krizek/U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Family: Papilionidae, Swallowtails view all from this family

Description Papilio aristodemus, commonly known as Schaus' Swallowtail, is a species of American butterfly in the Papilionidae family. It is found in the southern Florida with subspecies in the Bahamas, Hispaniola, and Cuba. Historically it occurred in tropical hardwood hammock from South Miami to Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida. Caterpillar host plants are in the family Rutaceae and include Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata), Citrus species, Sea Torchwood (Amyris elemifera), and Lime Prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum fagara).

Dimensions 3 3/8"-3 3/4" (86-95 mm).

Endangered Status The northern subspecies of Schaus Swallowtail is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Florida. A resident of south Florida habitats called tropical hardwood hammocks, this handsome butterfly has suffered losses as its habitat has been overtaken by development. Once found as far north as Miami, it now lives in the U.S. only in the upper Keys. Collectors, who take this swallowtail's eggs and larvae because the adults are very short-lived, have been a major threat to this rare species. The spraying of pesticides, and natural events such as hurricanes and droughts, have also contributed to the decline of the Schaus Swallowtail.

Habitat Forests & woodlands.

Range Florida.