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Determining sex of giant swallowtails...it's a boy, i think??

Posted by ams2009 (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 11, 09 at 10:10

Well, my last gst eclosed yesterday evening, and I think it's a boy. in addition to the stripe being wider on the back, i noticed there is also a small yellow dot on each wing, underneath the 5th yellow marking on the back wings. I checked all my others and they do not have this mark. Also, if anyone has any additional info on determining the sex of a giant swallowtail, please let me know, since I am hand feeding them, I am close enough to see some details that might go unnoticed otherwise. Oh, and this new one, has a different shape to his abdomen, unless it is just because he is new, it is long and slender, and he also has two markings or dots right above his abdomen on the underside, that the others do not have. Wow, if my bunch is indicative of the male to female ratio in my area, these females probably have a real hard time finding a mate.

One more question, all of the ones who i am assuming are females, seem to be swelling in the abdomen area, or maybe they are just gaining weight. Is this natural? they do like their nectar and gatorade

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Determining sex of giant swallowtails...it's a boy, i think??

I'll have to go back thru some photos, although some are not good since they are not usually willing to pose for photos.
But since you mention you have been "close enough to see some details that might go unnoticed otherwise" - can you see "claspers?" Check the pics under these links, different species but anatomy should be same:

boy or girl?
up close and personal


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RE: Determining sex of giant swallowtails...it's a boy, i think??

yes, he has what appear to be claspers, he is the most active little butterfly out of all the ones I have raised! He is little and hyper! I am going to try to release them again today, I will try to get a good pic of the male and his claspers and also a good pic of one of the female's abdomens and will post them. This is kind of gross but the male, has expelled this white liquid stuff quite a few times since he eclosed, the females expel a clearish liquid usually immediately after I feed them, the male does the same after he is fed, but he expels the other white liquid randomly, not sure what this is.
well, i forgot to submit this post earlier and since then, I released them, all but the two oldest females were anxious to leave, the two oldest females did not go, they will be two weeks old tomorrow, so I am wondering if I should even try again to see if they will go in a little while, or just let them be since their whole lives have been spent indoors and they've only eaten or nectared by being hand fed, and may not be capable now of finding food on their own since they are near the end of their lifespan and probably not as strong as the newer ones that took off. I hope they haven't been unhappy, and have been comfortable even though the weather has kept them from being released, i feel bad for them, but maybe since they don't know any different, they don't know what they are missing. I may try once more today and see if they want to go, just afraid that at this point they will only end up as a meal for a bird or some other predator if they go free.
I was able to get some really clear shots of the male's claspers and the female abdomen too, i will post them later on this same thread.


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RE: Determining sex of giant swallowtails...it's a boy, i think??

Well for one thing I am glad I am not the only one who forgets to hit submit when I write a post.


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RE: Determining sex of giant swallowtails...it's a boy, i think??

LOL,no, you aren't the only one fighting8r, and I couldn't tell you how many times I have forgotten to hit the final submit key, I am easily distracted as it is and had a two year old I was trying to keep up with today to top it off. Another update though, one of the older females ended up taking off finally, she flew HIGH, and kept on going, so hopefully they all made it to a safe place. I checked high and low right before dark just in case any of them had decided to linger, so I could bring them in, but I didn't see them so I hope that is a good sign! I still have the one female left, she did fly off a couple of times today, but only a short distance and would sit after she landed, so I let her stay outside with me while I cleaned up and raked so I could keep an eye on her and so she could leave if she decided to. It was pretty sunny, and she flew from shrub to shrub a few times, but never left, so I took her back in with me before dark, at least she got to bask and fly for a little while.
Here are the pics of the male and one of the females, and if you ask me, they don't look a whole lot different, lol. Click on the thumbnails to see more pics of each, thanks.

the boy
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and the girl

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