Papilionidae, Swallowtails

Emerald swallowtail, Papilio blumei

Papilio blumei, Emerald swallowtail, adult

Above is the Emerald swallowtail, or Majestic green swallowtail, and also the Peacock, Papilio blumei which is found in the wild in Sulawesi. Its wingspan can reach 120 - 140 mm. The underside of the wings is patterned dark brown/black and white.

Common banded peacock, Papilio crino

Common banded peacock, Papilio crino

The Common banded peacock, Papilio crino, above, is found in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The colour of the wings changes from green to blue depending on the angle of view. The wingspan is 7 - 9 cm.

Green swallowtail, Papilio phorcas

Green swallowtail

Above is the Green swallowtail, Papilio phorcas. It is also known as the Applegreen swallowtail and the Green-banded swallowtail. Its wingspan is 8 - 9 cm and it is found in Africa.

Teinopalpus imperialis, Kaiser-i-hind butterfly

Teinopalpus imperialis

The Teinopalpus imperialis, Kaiser-i-hind butterfly, above, is found in Nepal, northern India, and as far east as Vietnam in high altitude forests. It has a strong flight, and usually flies at tree-top level. The caterpillars feed on Magnolia campbelii. This beautiful butterfly is protected by law from being collected in the wild.

Crimson rose butterfly, Atrophaneura hector

Atrophaneura hector, the Crimson rose butterfly

Atrophaneura hector, the Crimson rose butterfly, above is found in India and Sri Lanka, in both jungle and open country up to around 2,400 m in the dry season, but lower down at other times. It is fairly common throughout its range and is protected by law in India. The photograph above shows a preserved male specimen, when alive the orange markings would be a crimson colour and the base colour of the wings would be darker.

The Crimson rose is often found drinking nectar from lantana flowers. Its flight is slow, and basks with its wings open in trees. At night it roosts in trees and shrubs often in large aggregations. Its warning colouration indicates its unpalatability to potential predators,. The caterpillar stage sequesters poisonous chemicals from its foodplants. It can breed throughout the year and in favourable conditions there can be as many as seven generations in a year. With egg to adult taking just 39 days. The eggs hatch within seven days and the caterpillars can be cannibalistic.

Papilio xuthus, Asian swallowtail, Chinese yellow swallowtail

Papilio xanthus, sian swallowtail, Chinese yellow swallowtail, caterpillar

Papilio xuthus, Asian swallowtail, Chinese yellow swallowtail caterpillar is above. I disturbed it while out walking and it pulled its head under and puffed up its eye spots to make itself look dangerous and frighten off predators. It is found across Asia, and also in Hawaii, and is fairly common. Adults fly from May to August, and have a wingspan of 90 - 110 mm.

The female mates multiple times. When the caterpillar first hatches it looks nothing like the large one in the photograph above. In fact it resempble a bird dropping, and this gives it some protection from predators. As it goes through the different moults it takes up the coloration you see above.

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