Lime or Chequered Swallowtail
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)
The Caterpillars of this species are varied in their colouring, in early instars but often become green in later instars. They often have a pale line each side just above the legs. Early instars have short spines along the body, and longer ones on the thorax and ninth abdominal segment. In later instars these spines degenerate to coloured knobs.
In Australia the caterpillars feed on various plants in FABACEAE such as
and plants in RUTACEAE such as :
The Caterpillar grows to a length of about 4 cms. The pupa is greenish-brown and attached to a stem of the foodplant by cremaster and girdle. It has two projections on the head and one on the thorax. Its length is about 3 cms.
The adult butterflies have buff coloured wings with wide black edges containing buff spots. The hind wings also have two eyespots: one red and one blue.
The underside is similar with narrower and paler black markings. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 10 cms.
Usually seen rapidly flying in one direction at a constant height, they only occasionally land, and catching one is a real thrill.
The eggs are pale yellow and spherical. They are usuallly laid singly on the upper surfaces of leaves of a foodplant.
The species Papilio demoleus occurs as a number of subspecies over much of tropical Asia, including :
The subspecies sthenelus W.S.Macleay, 1826, is found in New Guinea and the whole of mainland Australia including:
This species is featured at Coffs Harbour Butterfly House. Butterflies of this species may be purchased for release at weddings etc.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 274-276.
Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, p. 11.
, Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 464, No. 35.
(updated 16 Spetember 2010, 24 October 2016)