Graphium agamemnon (Linnaeus, 1758)
Green-spotted Triangle or Tailed Jay
(one synonym : Papilio mynion Fruhstorfer, 1906)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

This species is probably named after Agamemnon, the great but cursed king of of Ancient Greece.

Graphium agamemnon
early instar
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

The Caterpillar of this species initially is dark green or brown with a white patch and a humped thorax. Each segment has a short soft spine on each side, and the tail has a pair of spines.

Graphium agamemnon
later instar, displaying the osmeterium
(Photo: courtesy of Dr. Margaret Humphrey, Kuranda, Queensland)

The caterpillar everts a pair of soft yellow horns from behind the head when disturbed, and produces a pungent smell.

Graphium agamemnon
(Photo: courtesy of Michael Watt, Cairns, Queensland)

Later instars become a spotty green, with short black horns on each segment of the thorax, and a pair of horns on the tail. In later instars: the tail horns become white, and a dark line extends along each side.

Graphium agamemnon
last instar
(Photo: courtesy of Michael Watt, Cairns, Queensland)

The Caterpillar feeds by day on the young leaves of various plants in ANNONACEAE, including the introduced:

  • Custard Apple ( Annona reticulata ) ,
  • Soursop ( Annona muricata ),
  • Sugar Apple ( Annona squamosa ),
  • Biriba ( Rollinia delicosa ),

    and the Australian natives :

  • Zig Zag Vine, ( Melodorum leichhardtii ),
  • Raspberry Jelly Tree ( Miliusa brahei ),
  • Canary Beech ( Polyalthia nitidissima ),
  • Yellowwood ( Pseuduvaria froggattii ),
  • Mulgrave's Yellowwood ( Pseuduvaria mulgraveana ), and
  • Hilagak ( Uvaria rufa ).

    It has also been reported feeding happily on the foliage of plants in MAGNOLIACEAE including

  • "Little Gem" Magnolia ( Magnolia grandiflora ), and
  • Champak ( Magnolia champaca ).

    Graphium agamemnon
    (Photo: courtesy of Dr. Margaret Humphrey, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The pupa is green with some brown markings, and is usually attached to a leaf by cremaster and girdle.

    Graphium agamemnon
    (Photo: courtesy of Dr. Margaret Humphrey, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The adult butterflies have a wing span around 8 cms. The upper surfaces of the wings are black with rows of green spots, although in dead specimens, the green fades to yellow.

    Graphium agamemnon
    upper surface
    Graphium agamemnon
    (Specimens: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The underside is brown with fewer spots, some of which are green, but others are various colours including black, red, white and blue.

    Graphium agamemnon
    (Photo: courtesy of Gary Fortington, Yungaburra, Queensland)

    The eggs are pale yellow and laid singly on the leaves of a foodplant.

    Graphium agamemnon
    Australia Post, 2003

    Various subspecies of this insect are found across south-east Asia and the Pacific Islands, including :

  • India,
  • Java,
  • Malaysia,
  • Singapore,

    and the subspecies ligatum (Rothschild, 1895) occurs in

  • Queensland in Australia.

    Graphium agamemnon
    Graphium agamemnon
    Philippines 1969
    Cambodia 1969

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 263-264.

    Carl Linnaeus,
    Insecta Lepidoptera,
    Systema Naturae,
    Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 462, No. 21.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 2 December 2010, 28 December 2023)