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Gold Rim (Polydamus) Swallowtail

Host Plant(s): Pipevine. There are lots of different kinds of Pipevine; I have Dutchman’s Pipe, Dwarf Pipevine, and Tomentosa Pipevine, and the butterflies lay prolifically on all three.

The Gold Rim or Polydamus Swallowtail is very unusual among butterflies in that it lays its eggs in clusters. After hatching, the caterpillars more or less stay together, moving around and feeding as a group.

Nectar Plant(s): Like most butterflies, Gold Rim Swallowtails will feed on almost any nectar source, but my experience has been that Gold Rims, like other Swallowtails, are especially fond of Buddiliea.

Click on any of these thumbnails for a larger image:


Hello! We have several gold rimmed swallowtail cats that we’ve raised since eggs. We’ve successfully released many monarchs and a few Gulf Frittilary but it seems these gold rims will not pupate. They look healthy and are eating but have been in the caterpillar stage for over three weeks. Do you know the average larval stage for this species?

— brandy · 30 October 2009, 15:57 · #

Gold Rims can spend quite a while in the caterpillar stage — at least two weeks, but some go longer. Have they had a plentiful food supply at all times? They are voracious eaters, and I’ve found that if they run out of food they have a “setback” and have to eat for a little longer to “catch back up”. At any rate, the more they eat, the bigger the caterpillar and the bigger the butterfly — I’ve had some enormous Gold Rim butterflies. So just be patient and let them eat.

One more thing: This late in the season (and depending on where you live), they may overwinter in chrysalis. Last winter I had some emerge after three months in chrysalis, so don’t be alarmed.

gs · 30 October 2009, 16:49 · #

One caterpillar photo, and one butterfly photo, were all very, very, very, beautiful photos!!! Daniel.

— Daniel · 14 July 2011, 14:20 · #

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