Large Citrus (Papilio aegeus)
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.
- Family: Papilionidae
- Genus: Papilio
- Common names: Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly
- Scientific Name: Papilio aegeus
Description and Identification
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.
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.
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.
Average wingspan: Females: 140 mm (5.5 in); Males: 120 mm (4.7 in)
Flight pattern: Average and haphazard
The smooth, spherical eggs are creamy white in color with an approx. diameter of 0.5 mm; they are laid one at a time
|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.