Papilio aristodemus (Esper, 1794)

Key Biscayne Florida female ssp ponceanus Photos Courtesy of University of Fla   Key Biscayne, Fla    ssp ponceanus  Photos Courtesy of University of Fla Miami Florida 
 Miami Florida ssp ponceanus TYPE SPECIMEN  USNM, Washington D.C. Miami Florida May 1908   ssp. ponceanus verso
Fresh Creek, Andros Island, Bahamas  June female ssp driophilus  Col.:Simon Crooked Island, Bahamas June 1990 ssp majasi male; coll.: M Simon
Crooked Island, Bahamas June 1990 ssp majasi male Crooked Island, Bahamas June 1990 ssp majasi underside same specimen
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands ssp.  bjorndalae June 2   female Great Inagua Island,Oct 20 1991  ssp.  bjorndalae male
N Caicos Island, TCI; May 30 1990 ssp. bjorndalae N Caicos Island, TCI; June 6 1990 ssp. bjorndalae verso
Pinar Del Rio, Cuba Aug 1909 ssp temenes? (poss. new ssp from W Cuba) Pinar Del Rio, Cuba Aug 1909 ssp temenes  verso
Pedernales Prov, Dominican Republic Aug 2002 ssp aristodemus Pedernales Prov, Dominican Republic Aug 1982 verso

    Aristodemus is widespread in the Caribbean occurring on Cuba, the Bahamas, Hispaniola, and W. Puerto Rico. It is at home in  dense hardwood hammocks and scrub lands, flying slowly and easily through seemingly impenetrable growth. When it ventures into the open it has a rapid and erratic flight. Males can be quite terratorial when defending a favorite sunbeam in the woods awaiting a passing female; they also engage in patrolling behavior, repeatedly flying the same circuit in search of a mate. Males appear to emerge before females. (Pers. observations). Populations are usually coastal and typically emerge from April to June in the northern islands after spring rains. In the southern Bahamas,  Cuba , and the Dominican Republic there is a second brood following the September rains, and the spring brood emerges a bit later than the well known Florida population, ssp ponceanus. Ssp ponceanus is protected by the US endangered species act and is listed as CITES appendix I. Populations of ponceanus were close to extinction at several times this century (due to hurricanes and loss of suitable habitat), but the species as a whole,  is in no danger of extinction.
    The NW Bahamian population has been named as ssp driophilus, but this is not universally accepted. Ssp temenes is found throughout coastal areas in Cuba and possibly Little Cayman Island; The nominate race flies in the Dominican Republic and western Puerto Ricop. Ssp. majasi , the most restricted of the ssp, is known only from Crooked Island in the Bahamas. Ssp. bjorndalae,  from SE Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, is highly variable in the extent of red  and blue on the hindwing.  Bjorndalae was once thought to be rare, but is actually locally and seasonally abundant and in no immediate danger as many of its habitats are already protected lands. There is some thought that bjorndalae may deserve full species ranking. In Cuba and the Dominican Republic it is locally common to abundant, though exceedingly seasonal and often unpredictable in its emergence.  There is wide fluctuation in population density from year to year, and certain island populations (particularly  Florida keys and  the Bahamas) may be destroyed by hurricanes from time to time and repopulated by strays. The species may be able to undergo a long diapause and remain as a pupa through prolonged dry spells (even > 1 year!), emerging after heavy rains when it is more likely to find a fresh host plant. This "desert" adaptation may also help it survive the occasional hurricane as a protected pupa rather than a vulnerable larva or adult .