Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

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Luehdorf
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Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by Luehdorf »

I was considering getting myself a few species from the US, and rear them all year round in Panama. I know from Adam that he has been doing that successfully in Thailand with Papilio machaon and others, so my question is which species of North American papilio would be ideal to breed all year round in Panama? Also in terms of food plant availability?
I know that there is papilio stabilis or papilio polyxenes in the highlands of Costa Rica and Panama, that would be ideal probably, but what about: Papilio rutulus, Papilio glaucus, Papilio troilus, Papilio zelicaon or Battus philenor?
Looking forward to any suggestions.
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by 58chevy »

I think Heraclides (Papilio) cresphontes would also do well, as would other species that feed on citrus, assuming citrus crops are grown in Panama. If Red Bay trees are present there, P. palamedes would be a good bet.
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by Jshuey »

I think you are headed down a potentially dangerous road. Many Latin American countries have pretty onerous laws designed to prevent the introduction of invasive species. I don't know about Panama - but if I had to guess, I would say yes. I doubt that enforcement is really aggressive, but why would you risk it when you live in a country that probably has twice as many species present as the US and Canada combined?

There are plenty of local; species you could play with - some of which extend into the States. Papilio polyxenes is in the mountains in Panama, Heliconius charitonius likewise. Pick something local and stay out of jail.

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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by kevinkk »

It sounded weird to me as well. But whatever floats your boat I suppose. I was amazed to see how many people in the EU raise Lymantria dispar-
Seems like there would be some diapause issues anyway with more northern species.
I still recall seeing dispar ova covering everything, same with the "tent caterpillars" whatever species that is.
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by Luehdorf »

@Jshuey I hear you and thanks for that reminder. I was just a little bit missing my old world butterflies, having left Europe a year ago, and the North American swallowtails remind me a lot of the German machaon and iphiclides podalirius. The yellow and black colours give me a nice feeling of "home". Adding to that that I haven't had a lot of luck finding good places in Panama to collect and my only attempt to get eggs from Parides anchisiades failed, so I could not do any breeding this whole year - whereas in Germany I would breed thousands caterpillars in a year - perhaps that thought swept me away wanting to breed something I know a bit better.
But you are totally right, I will just try to get Papilio polyxenes in the high mountains in Panama next year, it seems to be very common there around farm land, and easily breedable on fennel and dill just like the European Papilio machaon, and I avoid all issues with invasive species.
I do still miss European meadows in summer that are filled with Lycaenidae, Melitaea, Colias and even Parnassius higher up in the mountains, somehow the tropical collecting is still far away from what I am used to. I also have a special permit to collect anything in Germany, which was difficult to get, and I am in the process to get a similar permit in Panama, and advising the ministry of environment to better collect data and take care of butterflies. I met with several people in the ministry through a friend and we talked about butterflies, and I showed them a bush in their backyard (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) which was in May completely overflown with Parides and swallowtails (30-40) at a single time, and they said they had never seen those butterflies before. Their level of butterflies is Morphos and thats about it.
Unfortunately I went there a few weeks ago and they had cut it down....still a lot of work to do in Panama...
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by Luehdorf »

kevinkk wrote: Thu Dec 08, 2022 12:17 am It sounded weird to me as well. But whatever floats your boat I suppose. I was amazed to see how many people in the EU raise Lymantria dispar-
Seems like there would be some diapause issues anyway with more northern species.
I still recall seeing dispar ova covering everything, same with the "tent caterpillars" whatever species that is.
For species like papilio machaon I think there won't be any diapause, in France machaon can have 3 or 4 generations in summer and as long as the days are 12 hours of sunlight, which it is year round in Panama, there should not be any diapause. But correct me if I am wrong, at least that's what I remember from Adam's farm in Thailand.
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by kevinkk »

Certainly, day length at the equator is even, I was thinking more of the cold periods most of our temperate species experience.
I suppose you won't know for sure until you try it. I know day length will have an effect, I use timers whenever I rear indoors, regardless
of species.
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by Paul K »

Luehdorf wrote: Thu Dec 08, 2022 10:36 pm
kevinkk wrote: Thu Dec 08, 2022 12:17 am It sounded weird to me as well. But whatever floats your boat I suppose. I was amazed to see how many people in the EU raise Lymantria dispar-
Seems like there would be some diapause issues anyway with more northern species.
I still recall seeing dispar ova covering everything, same with the "tent caterpillars" whatever species that is.
For species like papilio machaon I think there won't be any diapause, in France machaon can have 3 or 4 generations in summer and as long as the days are 12 hours of sunlight, which it is year round in Panama, there should not be any diapause. But correct me if I am wrong, at least that's what I remember from Adam's farm in Thailand.
You are wrong, there are many species in tropics that you can see adults only few weeks or days of the year as they have only one generation per year. I don’t think there is explanation on that as some species have source of food available all year round but still have one or two generation. It could be that there is simply no need for more off springs and the species just doing fine.
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by Jshuey »

Paul K wrote: Thu Dec 08, 2022 11:21 pm
You are wrong, there are many species in tropics that you can see adults only few weeks or days of the year as they have only one generation per year. I don’t think there is explanation on that as some species have source of food available all year round but still have one or two generation. It could be that there is simply no need for more off springs and the species just doing fine.
Indeed - depending on the length of the dry season, the majority of species may be highly seasonal. In Belize, which has a very pronounced dry spell, many swallowtails, hairstreaks, metalmarks and skippers fly only during peak rains. Some species probably have only one generation. I'm guessing you have the same patterns locally throughout Panama depending which coast you are on.
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by Luehdorf »

For species like papilio machaon I think there won't be any diapause, in France machaon can have 3 or 4 generations in summer and as long as the days are 12 hours of sunlight, which it is year round in Panama, there should not be any diapause. But correct me if I am wrong, at least that's what I remember from Adam's farm in Thailand.
[/quote]

You are wrong, there are many species in tropics that you can see adults only few weeks or days of the year as they have only one generation per year. I don’t think there is explanation on that as some species have source of food available all year round but still have one or two generation. It could be that there is simply no need for more off springs and the species just doing fine.
[/quote]

Yes I saw that when I was reading about the Kite swallowtails, in the genus Eurytides, Protesilaus and Neographium, they only have one generation and it seems to be the begining of the rainy season in March-April in Panama. I will definitely have a look out for them in 2023, in 2022 I missed the whole beginning of the rainy season and only started looking for butterflies again end of May where many swallowtails and parides were completely worn.
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Re: Rearing of North American papilios in Central America

Post by Luehdorf »

Jshuey wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 2:17 pm
Paul K wrote: Thu Dec 08, 2022 11:21 pm
You are wrong, there are many species in tropics that you can see adults only few weeks or days of the year as they have only one generation per year. I don’t think there is explanation on that as some species have source of food available all year round but still have one or two generation. It could be that there is simply no need for more off springs and the species just doing fine.
Indeed - depending on the length of the dry season, the majority of species may be highly seasonal. In Belize, which has a very pronounced dry spell, many swallowtails, hairstreaks, metalmarks and skippers fly only during peak rains. Some species probably have only one generation. I'm guessing you have the same patterns locally throughout Panama depending which coast you are on.
In Panama it is exactly the same. The dry season is very pronounced, begins mid of December and ends mid of March, and it is very dry, no rain, a lot of wind, very hot sun. But Panama is such a thin strip, from my home it is 20 minutes to the pacific and 60 minutes to the Caribbean. The weather is also very local, it might be sunny at my home at the outskirts of Panama City and then I drive 20 minutes into the inside of the country into the rainforest and it might rain there all day long. The kept these thick stripes of rainforest patches about 30km-50km thick on each side of the canal so that the rain continues and the forest can fill up the canal with water. Thats why that piece of rainforest is perfectly conserved and it creates its own weather, as soon as you leave Soberania National Park and go into the cattle fields and secondary growth areas there is much less rain. The worst part of Panama is the Los Santos area, a peninsula, which has lost all its primary rainforest to cattle fields and it is very dry compared to the rest of Panama, even during rainy season the weather is more Californian.
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