Swallowtail Butterflies

Chequered Swallowtail Papilio demoleus

Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)

This summer continues to be one of surprises. I’ve seen species of swallowtail butterfly that I can’t remember ever having seen (in the last 20 years). I caught a Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus) a few weeks ago and have found a late instar larva.

Dainty Swallowtail (Papilio anactus)

More recently we’ve had Dainty Swallowtails (Papilio anactus) and Orchard Swallowtails (P. aegeus) visiting our garden. We now have numerous Dainty and Orchard larvae on orange, mandarin, lemon and grapefruit trees. I haven’t seen the adult Orchard Swallowtails yet – but I’m hoping to get lucky soon.



Dainty Swallowtail - 1st instar larva


This tiny caterpillar is only several days old, but already has characteristic Dainty Swallowtail markings.




Dainty Swallowtail - larva preparing to pupate


After several weeks of growth this Dainty Swallowtail caterpillar is preparing to pupate on the main stem of this citrus tree.



Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus

Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus)




Though I haven’t seen the adults, I know Orchard Swallowtails occur here, as several of our citrus are being devoured by their caterpillars.

This young larva is everting its osmeterium, to produce a pungent smell and perhaps discourage me from eating it!

Orchard Swallowtail (P. aegeus)

Orchard Swallowtail (P. aegeus)







Orchard Swallowtail (P. aegeus)

The caterpillars above still have their bird-dropping appearance and are very spiny

This is an advanced Orchard Swallowtail caterpillar (right) that’s taken itself to a central branch where it may begin its pupation phase – I’ll keep an eye on it.


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