Papilio dardanus (the African Swallowtail, Mocker Swallowtail or Flying Handkerchief), is a species of butterfly in the family Papilionidae (the Swallowtails). The species is broadly distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The British entomologist E. B. Poulton described it as "the most interesting butterfly in the world".
Molecular studies have provided evidence that this species' closest relative is Papilio phorcas, with Papilio constantinus being the next closest (see images below). It is a member of the Papilio genus of which Papilio appalachiensis and Papilio xuthus are also members.
- Papilio dardanus Brown, 1776
- Papilio constantinus Ward, 1871
- Papilio delalandei Godart, 
- Papilio phorcas Cramer, 
- Papilio rex Oberthür, 1886
- P. d. antinorii Oberthür, 1883 (highlands of Ethiopia)
- P. d. byatti Poulton, 1926 (northern highlands of Somalia)
- P. d. cenea Stoll,  (southern Mozambique, eastern Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland)
- P. d. dardanus Brown, 1776 (Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, western Kenya, northern Zambia)
- P. d. figinii Storace, 1962 (highlands of Eritrea)
- P. d. flavicornis Carpenter, 1947 (north-western Kenya)
- P. d. humbloti Oberthür, 1888 (Comoro Islands)
- P. d. meriones C. & R. Felder, 1865 (Madagascar)
- P. d. meseres Carpenter, 1948 (Uganda, south-western Kenya, Tanzania: the western, southern and south-eastern shores of Lake Victoria)
- P. d. ochraceana Vane-Wright 1995 (northern Kenya)
- P. d. polytrophus Rothschild & Jordan, 1903 (Kenya: highlands east of the Rift Valley)
- P. d. sulfurea Palisot de Beauvois, 1806 (Sao Tome and Principe, Bioko)
- P. d. tibullus Kirby, 1880 (eastern Kenya, eastern Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia)
The species shows polymorphism in wing appearance, though this is limited to females, which are often given as an example of Batesian mimicry in insects. This female-limited mimicry was first described in 1869 by Roland Trimen. Males have a more or less uniform appearance throughout the species' range, but females come in at least 14 varieties or morphs. Some female morphs share a very similar pattern of colouration with various species of distasteful butterfly (e.g. from the Danainae, a subfamily of nymphalids), while others have been found that mimic male appearance (andromorphs). The persistence of these various morphs or different types of females may be explained by frequency dependent selection. Cook et al. suggest that Batesian mimics gain a fitness advantage by avoiding predators, but suffer harassment from males (see sexual conflict), whereas andromorphs (male mimics) are vulnerable to predation but are not harassed by male mating attempts.
Such female-limited Batesian mimicry is not unique to this species, even in the genus Papilio. For instance Papilio memnon shows a similar case of polymorphism in females. Similarly, male mimicry has been observed in another insect, a damselfly (Ischnura ramburii) which also appears to have evolved camouflage to avoid sexual coercion by males.
- Dardanus (figure in Greek mythology)
- Disruptive selection
- Phylogenetics of mimicry
- Cyril Clarke, E. B. Ford and Philip Sheppard (some notable researchers)
- Amauris mimetic model
- Peter Brown, 1776 . Nouvelles illustrations de zoologie, contenant cinquante planches enluminées d'oiseaux curieux, et qui non etés jamais descrits, et quelques de quadrupedes, de reptiles et d'insectes, avec de courtes descriptions systematiques. - New illustrations of zoology, containing fifty coloured plates of new, curious, and non-descript birds, with a few quadrupeds, reptiles and insects. Together with a short and scientific description of the same London. (White).
- Nijhout, H. F. (2003). "Polymorphic mimicry in Papilio dardanus: mosaic dominance, big effects, and origins". Evolution and Development 5 (6): 579–592. doi:10.1046/j.1525-142X.2003.03063.x. PMID 14984040. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- Poulton, E. B. (1924). "Papilio dardanus. The most interesting butterfly in the world". Journal of the East African and Ugandan Natural History Society 20: 4–22.
- Vane-Wright, R. I.; Raheem, D. C., Cieslak, A., Vogler, A. P. (1999). "Evolution of the mimetic African swallowtail butterfly Papilio dardanus: molecular data confirm relationships with P. phorcas and P. constantinus". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 99: 215–229.
- Papilio, funet.fi
- Trimen, R. (1869). "On some remarkable mimetic analogies among African butterflies". Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 26 (3): 497–522. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1869.tb00538.x.
- Mallet, J. (2001). "Batesian mimicry in Papilio dardanus". Retrieved 2009-08-23.
- Cook, S. E.; Vernon, J. G.; Bateson; M., Guilford, T. (1994). "Mate choice in the polymorphic African swallowtail butterfly, Papilio dardanus: Male-like females may avoid sexual harassment". Animal Behaviour 47 (2): 389–397. doi:10.1006/anbe.1994.1053.
- Mallet, James (2001). "Batesian mimicry in Papilio memnon". Retrieved 2009-09-09.
- Lessells, K. (2005). "Sexual Conflict". In Encyclopedia of Life Sciences.
- Carcasson, R.H 1960 The Swallowtail Butterflies of East Africa (Lepidoptera,Papilionidae). Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society pdf Key to East Africa members of the species group, diagnostic and other notes and figures. (Permission to host granted by The East Africa Natural History Society)
- Collins, N.M., Morris, M.G., IUCN ,1985 Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World: the IUCN Red Data Book (1985) IUCN pdf
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