Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly: 5 Amazing Facts

The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary has recently welcomed back the Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly! Scientifically known as Papilio demoleus, this intricately-patterned cream and black butterfly is widespread throughout Australia.

To celebrate our newest arrival, we’ve decided to share five incredible facts about this pretty little critter…

1. The Chequered Swallowtail Doesn’t Have A Tail

Although this butterfly has the phrase “tail” in its name, it ironically is tailless! It is the only member of the swallowtail family to not have a tail tip on its wings.


2. It Is The Most Widely Spread Swallowtail Butterfly In The World

Reading the list of countries this butterfly has been found in is like reading an A-Z in an atlas. It has been found in various countries in the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent,  Asia and Australia. Although it was formerly absent in Borneo, it is now one of the countries most common butterflies.

It has recently spread to the Western Hemisphere and can be found in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. It can even be found up to 7000 feet in the Himalayas!


3. It Is An Insect By Many Names

It is also known as the lime butterfly, lemon butterfly and lime swallowtail. This is because its host plants are usually citrus species.


4. It Changes Colour With Age

Next time you’re complaining about wrinkles, spare a thought for the poor Chequered Swallowtail. This butterfly changes colour from a vibrant creamy-yellow to a dull orange as it ages. How’s that for ageing gracefully?


5. It Has Different Flight Modes

Forget mobile phones, this little butterfly has pretty advanced flight modes! It flies slowly in the early morning and as the day goes on it flies in a fast, straight motion. It escapes the hottest parts of the day by resting on damp foliage, remaining motionless.

See the Chequered Swallowtail at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary!