extreme dimorphism in Papilio rutulus in Oakland, CA

Grkovich, Alex agrkovich at tmpeng.com
Wed Jun 3 21:22:30 EDT 2009

Please don't hesitate to send pics...We have very strange Tigers here in New England also...


From: owner-leps-l at lists.yale.edu on behalf of The Arthurs
Sent: Wed 6/3/2009 8:13 PM
To: leps-l at lists.yale.edu
Subject: extreme dimorphism in Papilio rutulus in Oakland, CA

Hi, everybody. Thank you for your responses concerning the status of the Limenitis species. They sure are confusing. 
As I said before, there are two distinct forms of P. rutulus in my neighborhood in suburban Oakland, California. One is intense golden-yellow with strong orange suffusion in the hindwing uppermost one and lowermost two submarginal spots, as well as the postmedian hindwing. There is sometimes even orange in the uppermost submarginal spot on the upperside as well. 
The other form is slightly larger and lighter yellow, with very little orange below, usually only in the anal angle eyespot and the lowermost one of the submarginal spots. Also, the stub-tails below the main tails on the hindwing are abnormally long. Some individuals of this form have very narrow black borders on the hindwing and rounded forewings, looking confusingly like P. canadensis. The eyespots of this form are very long and linear.
Today, I captured a specimen that is an extreme of the latter form. It is bright, lemony yellow, the stub-tails are almost long enough to be propber tails, and the eyespot on the hindwing is just a thin, yellow-and-orange line along the hindwing anal margin. The forewing is also rounded, and the hindwing border very narrow. It is a male, 4 1/4" in wingspan with wings spread out flat (probably smaller if properly spread). I chilled it in the fridge, and am looking at it now as I type the email. Another interesting feature is that it has orange in the marginal crescent that leads into the stub-tail. 
What do you all think? Are these definitely forms of the same species, or are they subspecies, or is the latter form a coastal type of P. multicaudatus or something even more interesting? 
If you would like to see a photo, I will send one. I'm not sending one now because the computer is really slow and dumb. 
-- Noah Arthur, Oakland, CA

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