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Butterflies of Africa
Mimetic Swallowtail
Papilio cynorta  FABRICIUS, 1793
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
subfamily - PAPILIONINAE
Tribe - PAPILIONINI
Papilio cynorta male, Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
There are about 90 recorded species of Papilionidae in Africa, of which 60 are placed in Papilio - a huge genus comprising of 210 species worldwide.
In Africa there are several untailed species similar to cynorta. Males of gallienus, zenobia, nobicea, cyproeofila, cynorta and plagiatus all have black uppersides with white bands, and undersides with reddish basal patches. In cynorta and plagiatus the bands on the upperside are broad, and bisected by dark lines along the veins. Males of cynorta can be confused with plagiatus but in the latter there is only a single very small apical spot. Both of these species are sexually dimorphic.
The female of plagiatus is a Batesian mimic of the noxious Acraeine Acraea alcinoe. Likewise the female of cynorta mimics the female of Acraea epaea, being dark brown on the upperside, with a broad white diagonal subapical bar, and a suffused white band extending across the hindwing and penetrating spaces 1a, 1b and 2 on the forewings.
Papilio cynorta is distributed from Sierra Leone to Congo, Zaire and Uganda.
Habitats
This species is common in the understorey of closed canopy rainforest.
Lifecycle
The larval foodplants include Calodendron, Citrus, Clausena, Fagara and Teclea ( Rutaceae ).
Papilio cynorta male, Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

Males commonly imbibe moisture from forest roads and from mud at the edges of small streams, often in the company of Amauris species. Both sexes visit Lantana bushes for nectar.

 

 

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