Papilio dardanus (African Swallowtail)
Papilio dardanus, also called African Swallowtail is a extremely variable . 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
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.
- Clausena anisata
- Teclea natalensis
- Toddalia asiatica
- Vepris eugeniifolia
The first description of this butterfly was in 1776 by Brown. There are some subspecies, but each of them has different forms.
- Papilio dardanus antinorii [Oberthür]
- Papilio dardanus byatti [Poulton]
- Papilio dardanus cenea [Stoll, 1790]
- Papilio dardanus figinii [Storace]
- Papilio dardanus flavicornis [Carpenter, 1947]
- Papilio dardanus humbloti [Oberthür]
- Papilio dardanus meriones [Felder]
- Papilio dardanus meseres [Carpenter]
- Papilio dardanus ochracea [Carpenter, 1948]
- Papilio dardanus polytrophus [Rothschild & Jordan, 1903]
- Papilio dardanus tibullus [Kirby, 1880]
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.
Hier ist die Unterart Papilio dardanus cenea zu sehen. (links Männchen, rechts Weibchen)
Protection provisions / Red List
- CITES: (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora):
-no entry- (as at 23.06.2005)
- EU regulation on trading with species of wild Fauna and Flora
-no entry- (as at 19.08.2005)
- IUCN Red List of threatened species:
-no entry- (as at 2004) (see: www.redlist.org/)
Similar and closely-related species
Papilio dardanus Brown 1776
African Swallowtail, Mocker Swallowtail, Flying Handkerchief
Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree
- Kingdom: ANIMALIA
- Phylum: ARTHROPODA
- Class: INSECTA
- Order: LEPIDOPTERA
- Suborder: DITRYSIA
- Superfamily: PAPILIONOIDEA
- Family: PAPILIONIDAE
- Subfamily: PAPILIONINAE
- Tribe: PAPILIONINI
- Genus: PAPILIO
- Specific name: DARDANUS