Cool Stuff Friday.


The California Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor hirsuta) is a locally rare butterfly within San Francisco. Now, thanks to California Academy of Sciences aquatic biologist, Tim Wong, the butterfly species is gradually repopulating in the area again.

The biologist built a greenhouse for the butterflies in his own backyard. It had all the perfect conditions for butterflies to grow – sunlight, temperature fluctuations, and an occasional nice breeze. He also learned that the butterflies only feed on one plant – the California pipevine (Aristolochia californica), which was pretty hard to track down. After a while, Wong found the plant in a botanical garden, which allowed him to take a few clippings of the plant. Once his butterfly paradise was built, Wong transported 20 caterpillars to it and let them grow. Now, around 3 years later, his butterfly home is thriving, and he’s not stopping yet!




This is just so very cool. You can see more here.


  1. blf says

    The plant itself is rather interesting (from Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge):

    The plant produces large green to pale brown curving pipe-shaped flowers, with purple veins and a yellow to red lining. The U shaped flowers produce winged capsular green fruits.

    The California pipevine’s flowers have a musty unpleasant odor which is attractive to tiny carrion-feeding insects. The insects crawl into the convoluted flowers and often become stuck and disoriented for some time, picking up pollen as they wander. Most eventually escape. The plant is not insectivorous, as was formerly thought. […]

    The larva of the endemic California pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor hirsuta) relies on the California pipevine as its only food source. The red-spotted black caterpillars consume the leaves of the plants, and then use the flowers as a secure, enclosed place to undergo metamorphosis. The plant contains a toxin which when ingested by the caterpillars makes them unpalatable to predators.

    Due to the quite distinctive shape of the flowers (see picture at Ye Pfffft!), another name is “California Dutchman’s-pipe”.

  2. says

    There’s a benevolent goddess and she created those perfect butterflies just for me.
    There’s a malicious goddess who created the perfect butterflies on a different continent than the one I’m on.
    Those colours are like a dream. Like the sky when the stars appear in the deep dark but the horizon is still blue.

  3. says


    Those colours are like a dream. Like the sky when the stars appear in the deep dark but the horizon is still blue.

    Yes. They carry the universe.

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