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Giant swallowtail laying eggs on hibiscus????

Posted by ams2009 (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 19, 10 at 16:12

I just saw a giant swallowtail flying around one of my hibiscus plants, and thought that maybe it was looking for flowers even though idk if a GST nectars on hibiscus flowers, but anyway, noticed that the GST looked like she was laying eggs, which I've seen gst's do several times on my citrus trees. Got a ladder and cut one of the hibiscus leaves that the GST had landed on, and sure enough, there are two eggs on the leaf! Is this common? I checked the hibiscus for other eggs but so far haven't seen any. Just wondering why she would lay eggs on hibiscus, do butterflies sometimes make mistakes as far as identifying larval host plants? Not sure if this has anything to do with her choice of host plant but yesterday I moved my potted lemon tree under my carport hoping this would prevent gst's from laying any more eggs on it (I have about 50 cats that hatched recently and worried there won't be enough food for existing cats already since leaves are just now starting to grow back from last batch of cats that pretty much completely defoliated the lemon tree). Has anyone else ever had a butterfly lay eggs on the wrong host plant? Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Giant swallowtail laying eggs on hibiscus????

Hi ams2009,

I have seen various differnt butterly species do this over the years, usually the host plant is very close by other times not even close but much rarer. Not really sure why though. as far as those 50 GST cats goes....send em to me! lol.

RE: Giant swallowtail laying eggs on hibiscus????

Hmmm. maybe I should check my hibiscus. The only time I've seen this is when the plants are up against each other, and she misses her mark. Although the GSTs lay eggs on my lakeview jasmine and the cats can't live on it (though it does appear in host plant lists in the rutacae family). But mostly the answer is no, unless the plants are very close together or entwined. In my experience anyway.
Oh well, off to check the hibiscus. a couple of which are pretty near to some citrus..
Good luck with all those cats!


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