Variable Cattleheart

Parides erithalion
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Parides erithalion
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Parides erithalion, the variable cattleheart, is a North and South American butterfly in the family Papilionidae. The species was first described by Jean Baptiste Boisduval in 1836.

Variable Cattleheart

Parides erithalion
Local Pest Control



Scientific classification

kingdom: Animalia
phylum: Arthropoda
class: Insecta
order: Lepidoptera
family: Papilionidae
genus: Parides

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The upperside of the wings is black with a row of red postmedian spots. The underside of the wings is also black with a row of pink and whitish spots. In males of some subspecies the uppersides of the forewings have a large olivaceous-green patch from the inner margin forward, with a creamy-white spot, while hindwings have a band of three red spots. Fringe in both sexes is dotted with white.

Description from Seitz

P. erithalion. Male: tibiae not thickened. Hindwing without distinct red spot behind the 2. median on the upper surface. Female: the spot before the 1. median of the forewing smaller than the preceding spot; band on the hindwing broad, pale on the innerside. Costa Rica to North Venezuela. — zeuxis Luc. (= rhameses Doubl., rhesus Koll., rhamases Fldr., abilius Fldr., rhamses Boisd.) (4a). Male: the green area much narrowed anteriorly, enclosing a large white spot before the 2. median; hindwing with 2 or 3 small red spots. Female: the posterior spot of the forewing larger than the preceding one. North Venezuela and eastern side of the Cordillera of Bogota. — erithalion Boisd. (4a) from Central Colombia (Rio Magdalena) has in the male rarely a white spot on the forewing, which is placed before the 1. median or between the radials. Female: the spot before the 1. median smaller than the preceding one; generally a few small spots outside the cell. — cauca Oberth. Male: the green area of the forewing wanting or merely indicated. Female: band on the hindwing narrow, curved, separated from the cell. Cauca valle — sadyattes Druce (4a). Male: the green area very variable, generally reduced, often wanting; all specimens with at least one white spot, which is placed before or behind the 3. radial, often a green spot in the cell. Female: band of the hindwing almost unicolorous bright red. Costa Rica to Panama.

Description from Rothschild and Jordan (1906)

A full description is provided by Walter Rothschild and Karl Jordan (1906). Note: Here polyzelus is treated as a full species and trichopus is P. z. trichopus.

Life cycle

The eggs are a brownish color. The caterpillar is brownish black with white and reddish-brown tubercles.

Host plants

The variable cattleheart feeds on Aristolochia cordiflora.


It is common local species and not threatened.


Parides erithalion is a member of the anchises species group The members are - Parides anchises - Parides cutorina - Parides erithalion - Parides iphidamas - Parides panares - Parides phosphorus - Parides vertumnus