(previously known as Papilio macleayanus)
Stewart Newman & Stella Crossley
The first instar is greyish green with an off-white prothorax and tail. The head, thorax, and tail have tubercles, each tipped with a rosette of hairs. The abdomen has sparse hairs, each with a forked tip.
The second instar is mainly green with a dark brown head, thorax, and penultimate segment, and a white hairy forked tail. The head and thorax also have hairy tubercles.
This Caterpillar is green with a humped thorax. Initially it has a black hump and a black forked tail. Later it becomes plain green with small pale dots over the body, and two narrow yellow lines along the back. It feeds on the foliage various species of Australian native trees in MONIMIACEAE including :
and various other subtropical trees in LAURACEAE including :
The caterpillar grows to a length of about 4 cms.
The pupa is green with thin pale lines and a peaked thorax. It suspended from a cremaster and girdle on the underside of foodplant leaf.
The adult butterflies have a wing span around 8 cms. The upperside of the wings is green with black and white markings. Unusually for butterflies. the legs are also green.
Males congregate around hilltops, where they can be seen defending their territory from rival males and courting passing females. We used to watch them flying above the eucalypts at the highest point of a local hill. They rarely came down to a catchable height.
The undersides are green with black and brown margins.
Various races have been described, including:
The eggs are round and pale green. They are laid singly on young shoots of a food plant.
(Courtesy : Instant Scratchies)
( Australia Post, 1981)
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 256-258.
Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, pp. 30, 64, 66.
William Elford Leach,
Zoological Miscellany; being Descriptions of New, or Interesting Animals,
Volume 1 (1814), p. 17, and also Plate 5.
Life history notes on the Macleay’s Swallowtail, Graphium macleayanum (Leach, 1814) Lepidoptera: Papilionida,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,,
Issue 109, pp. 19-23.
Gustavus Athol Waterhouse,
Descriptions of new forms of butterflies from the South Pacific,
Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
Volume 45 (1920), p. 470.
(updated 22 December 2012, 24 February 2014, 12 May 2015, 8 June 2020, 24 April 2021, 20 March 2022)