Swallowtails: Harris’ mimic swallowtail
(Mimoides lysithous harrisianus)

(Lepidoptera: Papilionidae: Papilioninae)

Profile prepared by the Xerces Society

Harris’ mimic swallowtail has been eliminated by habitat destruction from all but one known site in southeastern Brazil, which itself it now threatened by development.

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conservation status

Currently this species is not included on the IUCN Red List. However, there is an extensive section on this species (then known as Eurytides l. h.) in the Threatened Swallowtails of the World: The IUCN Red Data Book (1985), pages 208 to 209. (see reference below)

description

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This is a medium-sized swallowtail. The wings have narrow tails and a broad white band across a black background. The submargin of the hind wing is marked with large red spots that likely mimic the rose red markings of Parides ascanius. This species also has a red streak on the underside of its wings, which its model (P. ascanius) does not have.

life history

This species depends upon the habitat adjacent to the swamps where its model species (P. ascanius) may be found. Its primary host plant is Annona acutiflora.

distribution

Known from a single small site in extreme eastern coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.  The site also contains an abundance of endemic plants making it a high conservation priority.

threats

Habitat destruction has extirpated this butterfly from all but one known site in southeastern Brazil, which itself is now threatened by development and removal of trees for firewood and grazing cattle.

conservation needs

The one site where it occurs, as well as important host plant and nectar sources, need to be protected.

references

Much of the information on this species is taken almost directly from the following resources:

Collins, N. Mark and Michael G. Morris. 1985. Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World: The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN, Cambridge, U.K. 401 pp. (see pp. 208 to 209).

Tyler, Hamilton, Keith S. Brown, Jr. and Kent Wilson. 1994. Swallowtail Butterflies of the Americas. Scientific Publishers, Inc. Gainesville, Florida. 376 pp. (see pp. 179 to 180).

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