Losaria coon

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Common clubtail
Papilionidae - Atrophaneura coon.JPG
Mounted specimen at the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano
Scientific classification
L. coon
Binomial name
Losaria coon
(Fabricius, 1793)[1]

Atrophaneura coon — Fabricius, 1793

Losaria coon, the common clubtail, is a butterfly belonging to the swallowtail family, Papilionidae. The butterfly belongs to the clubtails, genus Losaria.[1] It includes several subspecies and is found from the Nicobar Islands and Assam in India, east to Hainan in China, and south through Indochina, to Java and other islands of Indonesia.


The butterfly has a wingspan of 100 to 120 millimetres (3.9 to 4.7 in). Both sexes are generally alike, however the females have broader wings and shorter hindwing tails. The butterfly has long and narrow wings and a characteristic spatulate tail, which gives it its name. The forewing is black with pale markings between the veins. Two-thirds of the cell of the hindwing is white with a row of white spots around it. It has crimson or dusky white lunules along the margin and disc.

Detailed description as given in Bingham (1907) is as follows:[2]

Male upperside dull black, paler on the fore than on the hind wing. Fore wing with very conspicuous pale streaks, two in each interspace that extend well into the cell, but do not reach the termen, where the dull black ground-colour forms a broadish transverse band. Hind wing black, with in fresh specimens in certain lights a beautiful blue gloss; a central large white area composed of a white patch in the apical two-thirds of the cell and more or less elongate spots of varying breadth at base of interspaces 1-7, all these very distinctly divided by the broadly black-bordered veins, the spot in interspace 4 more or less obsolescent; lastly, a subterminal row of more or less crescentic white spots, the lower two shaded with crimson followed by a crimson tornal and a terminal similar but brighter spot at apex of vein 3, the spatulate tail black. Underside similar; the ground-colour duller. Hind wing: a white discal spot often in interspace below vein 1, the lower two spots of the terminal series entirely crimson. Antennae, thorax and abdomen above up to the preanal segment black; head, palpi, sides of the thorax and rest of the abdomen crimson, the abdomen with black lateral spots.

Female similar; fore wing paler. Hind wing: the central white markings larger, the subterminal spot in interspace 2 white, coalescent with the crimson tornal spot. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen as in the male

L. c. cacharensis

Bingham describes race cacharensis, Butler, the subspecies found in Cachar (Assam) as follows:

Males and females smaller, with the ground-colour duller and the discal white spots on the hind wing conspicuously-reduced in size. According to Rothschild the subterminal and terminal markings are also paler, often yellowish red. Head, sides of breast and abdomen of a yellowish-red instead of vermilion-red.


The common clubtail is a woodland species which may be found both in the plains and the hills. This butterfly is found in Assam, Manipur and the Nicobar Islands (India), through mainland Southeast Asia, east to Hainan (China), and south to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java and Bawean. It is absent from Borneo.


Losaria coon has eight subspecies, excluding the former L. palu, now regarded as the separate species Losaria palu (Palu swallowtail).

Subspecies of the common clubtail found in India are:[3]


It has been recorded in Manipur during February and April and from July to October. The distinctive black and yellow/orange/red (depending on subspecies) markings and slow flight indicate that it is a protected butterfly being inedible due to sequestration of certain chemicals from the plants that the caterpillar feeds on.

Food plant[edit]

Life cycle[edit]

The caterpillar is variable in colour and ranges from reddish grey to black and has many black spots and stripes.

See also[edit]

Cited references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Häuser, Christoph L.; de Jong, Rienk; Lamas, Gerardo; Robbins, Robert K.; Smith, Campbell; Vane-Wright, Richard I. (28 July 2005). "Papilionidae – revised GloBIS/GART species checklist (2nd draft)". Entomological Data Information System. Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart, Germany. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  2. ^ Bingham, C.T. (1907). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. II (1st ed.). London: Taylor and Francis, Ltd.
  3. ^ Cotton, Adam; Fric, Zdenek Faltynek; Smith, Colin; Smetacek, Peter (March 2013). "Subspecies catalogue of the butterflies of India (Papilionidae): A Synopsis" (PDF). Bionotes. 15 (1): 5–8. Retrieved 16 April 2014.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Collins, N. Mark; Morris, Michael G. (1985). Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World: The IUCN Red Data Book. Gland & Cambridge: IUCN. ISBN 978-2-88032-603-6 – via Biodiversity Heritage Library.