Papilio dardanus (African Swallowtail)

Papilio dardanus, also called African Swallowtail is a extremely variable butterfly from Afrotropic ecozone (Africa). The first description was in 1776 by Brown. The wingspan is about 10.0 – 12.0 cm. The African Swallowtail is a member of the family PAPILIONIDAE. The male is white with black spots on wings. Hind wings have long tails. It is a master of batesian mimicry.




Photos for easy identification

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Photographer Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see some photos of Papilio dardanus (African Swallowtail) (male above / female below). Papilio dardanus is a member of the family PAPILIONIDAE from Afrotropic ecozone (Africa).


Description

The forewings are white. The margin and the pinion are black. At the pinion there is a little white spot.
The underside is nearly a copy of upside, but the margin and the pinion are brown.

The hind wings are white and have long tails. The margin is ridged. Next to the margin there are some black spots. The correct number of these back spots is variable. The dark veins of underside show through the wing.
The underside is nearly a copy of upside, but the spots are brown and the veins are dark.  

The body is black, but the underside is white.

Sex differences: The African Swallowtail is a master of batesian mimicry. There are many forms of females. All of them imitate some other uneatable species of butterflies. Usually the females have no tails on hind wings.


Distribution

The African Swallowtail (Papilio dardanus) is a butterfly of the afrotropic ecozone (Africa) and the palaearctic ecozone (Europe). The distribution include the whole afrotorpic ecozone and the North of Africa.


This world map shows the ecozones in which this butterfly is distributed.

Larval food

Rutaceae:

Monimiaceae:

General information

The first description of this butterfly was in 1776 by Brown. There are some subspecies, but each of them has different forms.

Papilio dardanus (African Swallowtail) is a master of batesian mimicry. The imitation of uneatable butterflies protect the femals. This phenomenon was describe by Roland Trimen in 1869.

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer

Hier ist die Unterart Papilio dardanus antinorii zu sehen. (Männchen)

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer

Hier ist die Unterart Papilio dardanus cenea zu sehen. (links Männchen, rechts Weibchen)

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer

Hier ist die Unterart Papilio dardanus meriones zu sehen. (Männchen)

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer

Hier ist die Unterart Papilio dardanus ochraceana zu sehen. (Weibchen)

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer

Hier ist die Unterart Papilio dardanus polytrophus zu sehen. (Weibchen)

Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Fotograf Thomas Neubauer

Hier ist die Unterart Papilio dardanus tibullus zu sehen. (Männchen)


Photo © by Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see the paring of Papilio dardanus.


Protection provisions / Red List

Similar and closely-related species

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Scientific name

Papilio dardanus Brown 1776


Other names

African Swallowtail, Mocker Swallowtail, Flying Handkerchief


Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree

To family tree (Genus: PAPILIO)...  


Ecozone

AFROTROPIC (Africa)

 

To the top

Back to family Papilionidae from AFROTROPIC (AFRICA)

 

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