Papilio thoas







Forewing Length

57-61 mm


Southern United States through Central and South America, Cuba, and Jamaica and Trinidad. Subspecies: Nicaragua to Brazil and Ecuador.

Host Plant

Piper (Piperaceae).

Pupa Stage

Approximately 15 days.

Pupa Description

Dull brown, resembling a twig, and differing from Papilio cresphontes by having a smaller head and a prominently bulging abdomen.

Adults Description

There has long been confusion in separating this species from Papilio cresphontes. The males are not a problem, but the females from Costa Rica still present some difficulties in identification. Male has no visible notch at the base of the claspers ) when viewed from above, the interface of the last abdominal segment and the base of the claspers is smooth and continuous with the claspers. Female apparently distinguished by having a depression on either side of the vaginal orifice that produces a ridge, but this is variable. The only positive way I know of telling the Papilio thoas female in Costa Rica is by observing one oviposit on Piper or by rearing the early stages

Habits Description

Occurs from sea level to 1,000 m on both slopes. These observations are based on males or ovipositing females. The species is commonest in areas of high rainfall, although it occurs in Guanacaste during the dry season. Both sexes are very fast fliers, and are encountered as solitary individuals along forest edges and in open areas. Both sexes visit a wide variety of flowers, and some rain forest populations visit flowers of canopy trees. The female oviposits from early morning until late afternoon along forest edges and second-growth forest.