Graphium aristeus (Stoll, 1780)
Fivebar Swordtail
(previously known as Papilio aristeus)
PAPILIONIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Graphium aristeus
(Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

This species was possibly named after one of the Gods of Ancient Greece. Aristeus was a beekeeper, and one of the sons of the sun god Apollo. Alternatively, perhaps it was named after the Ancient Greek Olympic Champion Aristeus of Argos.

The eggs of this species are white, later turning pink. They are laid in clusters on a foodplant. The Caterpillars are black with brown lines along the body and lines of silver spots across the body. There are dark blue tentacles on the thorax and tail. The Caterpillars feed on :

  • Miliusa traceyi,
  • Canary Beech ( Polyalthia nitidissima ), and
  • Yellowwood ( Pseuduvaria froggattii ),

    all of Soursop family ( ANNONACEAE ). The Caterpillars feed communally initially but separate to feed alone as they mature.

    They leave the plant to pupate ib the ground debris.

    The upperside of the wings of the adult butterflies is green with black markings. including 5 black bars along the front of each forewing. Each hind wing has a very long tail. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 5 cms.

    Graphium aristeus
    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The species is found as various subspecies across south-east Asia, including

  • India,
  • Papua, and
  • Philippines.

    The subspecies parmatus (Gray, [1853]) is found on the tropical north-east coast of Australia including

  • Queensland on the Cape York Peninsula.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 255-256.

    Caspar Stoll, in Pieter Cramer:
    Description de Papillons Exotiques,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Volume 4 (1780), pp. 60-61, figs. E,F, and also Plate 318, figs E,F.


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    (updated 7 December 2009)