Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)

Scientific Classification

Domain: Eukaryota

Kingdom: Animalia

Subkingdom: Metazoa

Phylum: Arthropoda

Subphylum: Uniramia

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Suborder: Rhopalocera

Family: Papilionidae

Genus: Papilio

Subgenus: Princeps

Species: Papilio demoleus

Subspecies: P. demoleus demoleus

P. demoleus sthenelus

P. demoleus malayanus

P. demoleus sthenelinus

P. demoleus novoguineensis

Common names: Chequered Swallowtail, Citrus Butterfly, Citrus Swallowtail, Lemon Butterfly, Lime Butterfly, Lime Swallowtail

Dorsal view of a Female Papilio demoleus (Chequered Swallowtail)


Adult Butterfly (imago): Viewed from above (dorsal side) Papilio demoleus has dark brown to black wings with an array of pale yellow markings. There is an irregular broken bar running along the leading edge of the forewing and a series of pale yellow spots along the outer margins of all four wings. Each hindwing has a red and blue ocellus (eye-spot). Females have a large black circular area within the ocelli which is absent in the male.

The body is largely greyish-brown in colour with yellow markings. The thorax is covered with setae, a substance with fur-like properties although it is not actually fur and evolved separately.

Viewed from below (ventral side) wing patterns are similar to dorsal views, although somewhat lighter in colour and sometimes with a subtle pinkish tinge. The ocelli are less well defined. Body colour is a lighter grey than when viewed from above.

Imagines have a wingspan measuring from 65 to 110 mm.

Antennae turn upwards at the furthest point from the body and culminate in a club-like structure.

Unlike most swallowtails, Papilio demoleus does not have any tails, an anomaly that helps with quick and easy identification.

Papilio demoleus (Chequered Swallowtail) underwing

Pupa (chrysalis): Papilio demoleus pupae are green in colour when first constructed, darkening to brown as they mature. The colour hues match the colour of the substrate they are found upon. There are two anterior projections and three dark bands towards the posterior. Pupae are constructed under leaves or on twigs near the larval feeding site.