Emerald Swallowtail (Papilio palinurus)

Scientific Classification emerald

ORDER: LEPIDOPTERA

FAMILY: PAPILIONIDAE

GENUS: PAPILIO

SPECIES:  P. palinurus

ICUN REDLIST: LEAST CONCERN

HABITAT

The species ranges flow within India, southern China, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Indochina, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and other islands of Indonesia and the Philippines. It can be found in open areas, including forest clearings and edges, river banks, rock outcroppings, parks, empty lots, and near human habitations. E. multifasciata is a common species throughout it’s range. It appears in open areas of lowland and submontain forest, as well as, secondary vegetation. The common sun skink is also common in highly disturbed habitats such as bamboo or coconut groves from near sea level to 1200 meters above sea level.

APPEARANCE

The Emerald Swallowtail has a wingspan reaching about 7.5 to 10cm. The dorsal sides of the wings are covered by a large set of green scales with a background colour varying from dark green to black, with a broad set of bright emerald green metallic bands in an almost V shape. The undersides are black with orange, white and blue spots along the edges of hind wings. The wings have extended parts to it and this is where swallowtails get their name. The iridescent green of this butterfly is not produced by pigments, it is caused by the colouration of the structure of the wings. They refract the light and give rise to blue and yellow visible reflections, producing the perception of green colour when additively mixed. The juvenile caterpillar is green with orange  bands laid on top in a segmented fashion.

BEHAVIOUR

The Emerald Swallowtail caterpillar feeds on food plants in the rue and citrus family. The adults feed on nectar the same as other butterflies. The butterfly uses its long proboscis to drink nectar. Butterflies are important as pollinators for some species of plants. They are capable of moving pollen over greater distances. Male Emerald Swallowtails usually maintain territories and actively chase other species or individuals that may stray into them. The flight of these butterflies is swift and quite fast.

REPRODUCTION

The vast majority of butterflies have a four-stage life cycle; egg, caterpillar, pupa (chrysalis) and imago (adult). Once the butterflies have mated the female lays its eggs and these hatch into the caterpillar (larva).  As the larva gets older it will find a suitable site to wrap itself in silk for the chrysalis stage. Then through metamorphosis the pupa will transform into an adult butterfly.

ECOSYSTEM ROLE & HUMAN BENEFITS

Diet Juvenile: Food plants in the rue and citrus family.                 Adult: Nectar
Ecological role Primary Consumer, pollinator of certain plant species
Human benefits Pet Trade, Zoos (Butterfly houses)
Threats Habitat loss, pesticides, Over collection

INTERESTING FACT

Butterflies can taste with their feet. They have six legs and they each have sensors on them that can tell just by landing on a flower what it tastes like.


** This data set was written by Luke Anning of Bournemouth University, England and edited by Stephanie Young**



***Identification of these species has been made through, photographic documentation cross referenced with external specialists and identification books. Any errors in our database will be rectified upon notification, if you feel that we have misidentified any species please help us to improve our research through our contact us page. All people involved will be acknowledge in the website and reports***



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