Swallowtail Butterfly from South Africa: African Citrus Swallowtail

Hi There,
My friend found this moth inside his apartment in Cape Town, South Africa. What Kind of moth is it? Regards,
Angela Gerber

Hi Angela
This is not a moth. It is a Swallowtail Butterfly. We do not know the exact species, but we are confident that one of our readers, who is not currently late for work, might have time to do the necessary web research and then provide us with the species name and a link to the identification.

Though not an expert, I believe that is a butterfly of the species Scientific Name: Papilio demoleus. The common name will vary from region to region. Some common names are Citrus Swallowtail; Lime Swallowtail; Lemon Swallowtail; Chequered Swallowtail; Orange Dog and Christmas Butterfly. Here are two source for confirmation: http://www.nic.funet.fi/pub/sci/bio/life/insecta/lepidoptera/ditrysia/papilionoidea/papilionidae/papilioninae/papilio/index.html#demoleus and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papilio_demoleus Hope I’m correct. cheers

Guilty as charged! It’s the Citrus Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio demodocus. Take a look at http://www.bushveld.co.za/pictures-of-citrus-swallowtail.htm Best,

A follow-up:
When I saw the P. demoleus Linnaeus pictures (the Lime or Lemon Swallowtail), which appear to be identical to the images I found of P. demodocus Esper, I thought maybe P. demodocus was just a synonym. However, when I researched a bit further, I see that P. demoleus and P. demodocus are sister species! Throughout Africa, the butterfly that looks like this is P. demodocus, the African Citrus Swallowtail a.k.a. African Lime Swallowtail. P. demoleus, a very similar species of citrus swallowtail, is very much more widespread globally, and is poised to become a serious pest threat to Florida citrus groves, if reaches the mainland from the Caribbean. Take a look at http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/enpp/ento/limeswallowtail.html
And in that article they do also mention the African species, and the confusion with the common names: “In Africa, the related African lime swallowtail, Papilio demodocus Esper, is also called the citrus swallowtail.”
Susan J. Hewitt

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