Common names: Common Lime Butterfly, Lemon Butterfly, Lime Swallowtail, Small Citrus Butterfly, Chequered Swallowtail, Dingy Swallowtail, Citrus Swallowtail.
Papilio demoleus, the Common Lime Butterfly, is a common and widespread Swallowtail butterfly. It gets its name from its host plants which are usually citrus species such as the cultivated lime. Unlike most swallowtail butterflies it does not have a prominent tail. The butterfly has also been referred to as the Citrus swallowtail, a name it shares with a morphologically similar species, Papilio demodocus which flies in Africa. The butterfly is a pest and invasive species from the Old World which has spread to the Caribbean and Central America.
The butterfly is tailless and has a wingspan 80–100 mm. Above, the background colour is black. A broad, irregular yellow band is found on the wings above, which is broken in the case of the forewing. Besides this the butterfly has a large number of irregular spots on the wing. The upper hindwing has a red tornal spot with blue edging around it.
As the butterfly ages, the yellow markings on the wings deepen to orange
Featured in GEMS on February 19/2011