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Large Citrus (Papilio aegeus)

Large Citrus Butterfly

The Large Citrus is a species of big-sized butterflies extensively scattered throughout their range in 11 local subspecies. As their name suggests, the species has a strong fondness for citrus plants, for which, the larvae of this butterfly are often considered a pest.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Genus: Papilio
  • Common names: Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly
  • Scientific Name: Papilio aegeus

Description and Identification


Large Citrus Butterfly Caterpillar

Born with a brown base color with three white patches. As they mature they turn green with irregular markings in white, yellow or brown, reaching a maximum length of 60 mm (2.4 in) before pupating.


Large Citrus Butterfly Chrysalis

The chrysalis has an interesting way of camouflaging. They can be colored in cryptic green, brown, or grey, which completely depends on the color of the stem they stay attached to.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Moderately present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, both the sexes display a white stripe over a black base color; however, the females have more white stripes on the forewings. The hind wings are also black with a bright white triangular swath in the middle. The females also bear a few chains of blue and orange to red crescents along the edge. When the wings are closed, the ventral side displays a similar coloration and marking patterns.

Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly
Papilio aegeus

Average wingspan: Females: 140 mm (5.5 in); Males: 120 mm (4.7 in)

Flight pattern: Average and haphazard


Large Citrus Butterfly Eggs

The smooth, spherical eggs are creamy white in color with an approx. diameter of 0.5 mm; they are laid one at a time

Quick Facts

Distribution Eastern Australia and Papua & New Guinea
Habitat Citrus fruit orchards, sunny lands, forests and forest edges
Lifespan of adults Up to two weeks
Host plants Mostly leaves of the genus Citrus, but a wide variety of other plants as well belonging to the genus Boronia, , Clausena, Dinosperma, Eriostemon, Flindersia, Geijera, Halfordia, Leionema, Micromelum, Philotheca, Zanthoxylum and Zieria
Adult diet Flower nectar

Did You Know?

Even though they are categorized under the group whose members are mostly characterized by their distinctive ‘tails’ on the hind wing, the characteristic is entirely absent in this species.

Female Large Citrus Butterfly
Male Large Citrus Butterfly
Large Citrus Butterfly Images

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Genus: Papilio
  • Common names: Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly
  • Scientific Name: Papilio aegeus