Papilio palinurus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Emerald Swallowtail)
Jump to: navigation, search
Papilio palinurus
Emerald Swallowtail.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae
Genus: Papilio
Species: P. palinurus
Binomial name
Papilio palinurus
Fabricius, 1787

The Emerald Swallowtail, Emerald Peacock, or Green-banded Peacock (Papilio palinurus) is a butterfly of the genus Papilio belonging to the Papilionidae family. It is native to southeast Asia, but regularly kept in butterfly zoos around the world.


There are several subspecies (from Burma, Borneo, Indonesia, Nias, and the Philippines).

  • Papilio palinurus palinurus – Burma, Malaysia Borneo
  • Papilio palinurus auffenbergi Späth, 1992Simeulue, Indonesia[1]
  • Papilio palinurus nymphodorus (Fruhstorfer) – Island of Basilan
  • Papilio palinurus adventus (Fruhstorfer) – Island of Nias
  • Papilio palinurus daedalus (C. & R. Felder, 1861) – Philippines
  • Papilio palinurus angustatus (Staudinger, 1888)Island of Palawan, Philippines


The genus name Papilio comes from the Latin word papilio meaning butterfly. The species name palinurus derives from Palinurus, the name of the pilot of Aeneas's boat in the Latin epic poem, written by Virgil.


Ventral view of Papilio palinurus

Papilio palinurus has a wingspan reaching about 8–10 centimetres (3.1–3.9 in). The dorsal sides of the wings are covered by a powder of green scales and the background vary from dark greenish to black, with broad bright emerald green metallic bands. The undersides are black with orange, white and blue spots along the edges of hind wings, that show extended tails at the end.

The flight of these butterflies is swift and quite fast. Caterpillars feed on plants of genus Euodia belonging to the Rutaceae, commonly known as the rue or citrus family.

Green by structural coloration[edit]

Main article: structural coloration
The green of Papilio palinurus is created by special microstructures in the wing scales

The iridescent green sheen of the bands of this butterfly is not produced by pigments, but is structural coloration produced by the microstructure of the wing scales. They refract the light and give rise to blue and yellow visible reflections, producing the perception of green colour when additively mixed.[2][3][4]


This species can be found primarily in South East Asia, particularly in Burma - Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Indonesia (Simeulue, Island of Nias), Philippines (Basilan, Palawan, Balabac, Cuyo, Busuanga, and Dumaran).


Papilio palinurus lives in Asian primary forests.



  1. ^ Späth, Manfred (1992). "Zwei neue Taxa der Gattung Papilio Linnaeus 1758 aus Indonesia (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae)". Entomologische Zeitschrift 102 (16): 289–304. 
  2. ^ Ball, Philip (May 2012). "Scientific American". Nature's Color Tricks 306. pp. 74–79. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0512-74. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ Crne, Matija; Vivek Sharma, John Blair, Jung Ok Park, Christopher J. Summers and Mohan Srinivasarao - Biomimicry of optical microstructures of Papilio palinurus - EPL -Volume 93, Number 1, January 2011
  4. ^ Vukusic, P.; Sambles, J.R.; & Lawrence, C.R. (2000). Structural colour: Colour mixing in wing scales of a butterfly. Nature 404:457.

Other reading[edit]

  • Erich Bauer and Thomas Frankenbach. (1998). Schmetterlinge der Erde, Butterflies of the world Part I (1), Papilionidae Papilionidae I: Papilio, Subgenus Achillides, Bhutanitis, Teinopalpus. Edited by Erich Bauer and Thomas Frankenbach. Keltern : Goecke & Evers ; Canterbury : Hillside Books ISBN 9783931374624
  • Zipcodezoo
  • Biolib

External links[edit]