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Swallowtail butterflies are beautiful, colorful and very large butterflies that are found in most every continent in the world, except Antarctica. They are also very abundant in Belize.
There are over 500 species of swallowtails in the world! There are various kinds of swallowtail butterflies, and they are most often identified by the colors on their wings. A Swallowtail Cattleheart, is identified by the band of pink spots along its wings.
Swallowtail Butterfly Habitat
A vast majority of the swallowtail butterfly species are native to the tropical regions of the world (such as Central America - Belize), while a few other species are found in other parts of the world. The butterflies mainly prefer marshy areas and open grasslands, characterized by growth of various species of flowers.
Swallowtail Butterfly Life Cycle
Like most of the other species of butterflies, even swallowtails have a four stage life cycle. We learned this in kindergarten last year. The four growth stages of the butterfly are 1) egg; 2) caterpillar; 3) pupa, and; 4) adult butterfly.
The life of a swallowtail butterfly begins in the form of an egg. The female lays eggs on a tree, so that the larvae gets ample food (in form of leaves) when the eggs are hatched. It takes around 4-5 days for the eggs to hatch.
STAGE #2 - Caterpillar Stage
When the caterpillar comes out of the egg, first of all it eats the egg shell, and then continues feeding on the leaves, available in plenty. Swallowtail caterpillars can grow up to a size of 2 inches.
STAGE #3 - Pupa Stage
The pupa is predominantly the resting stage for these species, as they transform from caterpillars to full-grown adult butterflies. This stage lasts for about 9 to 11 days.
STAGE #4 - Adult Butterfly
The final stage of the life of the swallowtails is characterized by a development of wings which enables these beautiful insects to fly. This entire process takes approximately one month, from start to finish. This cycle continues as the adult female butterflies lay eggs, when the conditions are favorable.
Swallowtail Butterfly Diet
While the caterpillars prefer to feed on plant foliage, adult swallowtails feed on nectar from various flowers in the surroundings. The tongue of these species is specially designed to suck nectar from the flat topped flowers. When not in use this flexible tongue is coiled up into a spiral formation.