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Species Page - Papilio machaon pikei
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scientific name    Papilio machaon pikei    

common name     Pike's Old World Swallowtail

Can be found on dry river banks along the Peace River and in the Kleskun Hills badlands.

Adults fly from June to early July.

This large yellow and black butterfly has a wingspan of 65 to 80 mm. The hindwings each have a single tail and an orange-red eyespot. All three subspecies of Old World Swallowtail in the province have an oval to club-shaped eyespot on the hindwing that is connected to the wing margin or positioned below the red scales. P. m. hudsonianus and P. m pikei have yellow hair extending around the underside of the thorax and yellow scales at the base of the ventral forewing, whereas P. m. dodi predominately has black hair and scales in these areas. P. m. pikei can be distinguished from other subspecies of P. machaon by its geographic location, being restricted to the Peace River area (Bird et al., 1995). D. Macaulay image
Eggs are spherical, white to yellow and have a pitted surface (Guppy & Shepard, 2001).
Fifth instar larvae have segmental spots that are usually orange but may also be yellow and each segment has black and green bands (Sperling, 1987). The background colour of the mature larvae is flat blue-green to bright emerald green (Guppy & Shepard, 2001). Pupae are mottled brown or green (Sperling, 1987).

life history
Males patrol for females at the top of high river banks and grassy hilltops. Females lay eggs singly on host plants found on or alng the base of eroding slopes. Larvae feed on leaves of the host plant and pupae always overwinter. Larvae have osmeteria (a fleshy protuberance, that is everted from behind the larval head of swallowtails) for defense and may be parasitized by ichneumonid wasps (Acorn, 1993; Sperling, 1986).

Restricted range; rank S1 and status "May Be At Risk"

diet info
P. m. pikei larvae feed solely on Artemisia dracunculus (Sperling 1987). Adults nectar on flowers including alfalfa (Medicago sativa) (Bird et al., 1995).

Restricted distribution and rarely collected; found only in the Peace River region of Alberta and British Columbia (Sperling, 1987).

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Specimen Info
There are 166 specimens of this species in the online database
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