Batisian Mimicry
The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly strategically looks very similar to the poisionous Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor.  Although the Red-Spotted Purple is not poisonous, looking like a toxic butterfly works to their advantage by keeping away predators such as birds (Macy and Shepard, 11).  Red-Spotted Purple butterflies became more similar to the Pipevine Swallowtail overtime because of natural selection.  Having the coloring of a poisonous species deters predators and allows for a longer life expectancy, thus creating a higher reproduction rate.

    Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly                                                   Pipevine Swallowtail

    The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly, along with most of the Lepidoptera butterfly family has a proboscis.  The proboscis is a structure made up of two tubes (galeae)  located on the maxillae that come together to form a central tube.  It is used much like a straw; the butterfly uses a sucking action to retrieve nutrients.  The proboscis is coiled up under the butterfly's head while resting and is extended only during feeding (Scoble, 6).  The proboscis is an ideal tool for the Red-Spotted Purple butterfly because it can easily pierce their food source and obtain the nutrients.

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