Butterfly odors...

Chris J. Durden drdn at mail.utexas.edu
Tue Aug 1 21:43:21 EDT 2000

Out our way there are two forms of black swallowtail. Males of one smell
like cheap perfume. I identify these as *Papilio polyxenes curvifasciata*.
The much rarer males of the other smell spicy. The pattern and wing shape
is a little different. I identify these as *clarki* whatever that is.
Ithink they are cryptic species and I routinely sniff all black
swallowtails I net. Of course this is not a character that can be
appreciated by a purist butterfly watcher or photographed. I have not yet
found a significant genitalic difference but the sample is small. There is
more connected yellow on the ventral spotband of the abdomen in the spicy
  I always sniff male butterflies for the androconial scent, just to learn
each species. That way I have a chance to find cryptic species. On occasion
in the North (Quebec) I have smelled the Northern Pearly Eye on sun-dappled
woods, before I have seen them sunning on a rock. I do not smoke, and I
appreciate fine foods including white truffles and gusanos rojos.
.........Chris Durden

At 12:07  2/08/00 EDT, you wrote:
>Hello all...
>Once a few years back, I remember a good friend of mine in Louisiana told me 
>to smell a tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Of course I thought he was 
>kidding, but of course I went out there and tried it, and it smelled just 
>like the popular breakfast cereal "Fruit Loops!!" Another fellow told me to 
>smell an Aporia craetegi, and even having been caught 20+ years before, it 
>still had a scent like that of a common thing (I forget what it is though). 
>Of course it was still papered, I'm sure a spread specimen would lose it's 
>scent. I was just wondering what other butterflies are out there that bear 
>familiar scents? I would be very interested in knowing of any other 
>Lepidopterans to smell. And to the rest of you, take a whiff of the next 
>tiger swallowtail you encounter!

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