Two Swallowtails from South Korea

Two Swallowtails
Location: Dongducheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
July 27, 2011 5:13 am
Hey there,
I live in South Korea and this summer I’ve seen two really cool looking butterflies around. I don’t think I’ve seen either of them on your website yet. Could you help me identify them?
Signature: Sarah

Asian Swallowtail

Hi Sarah,
We located a TrekNature South Korean Butterfly website and found one of your swallowtails identified as a Citrus Swallowtail,
Papilio xuthus, however, there is another species that goes by the common name Citrus Swallowtail (see our archives).  According to the Butterflies of Hawaii website, it is also known as the Chinese Yellow Swallowtail or the Asian Swallowtail.  BioLib only provides the name Asian Swallowtail.  We believe your other butterfly might be Papilio elwesi because of its broad tails.  There is some variability between individuals, but these photos from The Butterfly Corner website look very similar to your individual.  Though many of the images are of mounted specimens, we discovered the Lepidoptera Pro website which has images and information on many swallowtails from around the world.

Possibly Papilio elwesi

Hello Bugman,
Thank you so much for your quick replies! I did a search for papilio elwesi and it’s too bad it seems every image is of a mounted one. I’ve been seeing them frequently around. They have an unusual gait when flying, it’s almost like they’re too heavy to keep themselves up. The pictures I took of it were a challenge because it was almost too heavy for the flowers it was trying to get nectar from so it kept moving around trying to get a good spot to land. I’m hoping once our torrential rains let up, I’ll have another opportunity to take a clearer picture of one of them. Looking forward to what you think the big fat green caterpillar is 🙂

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