Butterflies of Africa
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
Tribe - PAPILIONINI
Falls, Ghana ©
are about 90 known species of Papilionidae in the continent of
Africa of which 60 are placed in Papilio
- a huge genus comprising of 210 species worldwide.
Papilio demodocus is found across most
of sub-Saharan Africa, including Madagascar, and is also found in
s.w. Arabia. The butterfly bears a remarkable resemblance to
P. demoleus, an Oriental species found
from n.e. Arabia to the Philippines, and which also occurs in
Australasia. The two species however are not as closely related as
their appearance would seem to indicate.
The Citrus Swallowtail is found in a wide variety of habitats
ranging from semi-desert and acacia scrub to secondary forest,
arboreta, parks and gardens. It can be found at altitudes between
sea level and at least 1200m.
The eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the foodplants, which
Vepris. The most frequently used plant however is cultivated
Citrus. In dry regions the eggs are
laid on Ruta and
Haplophyllum. All of the aforementioned plants are members of
the Rutaceae. In dry areas Pituranthos
and Foeniculum ( Apiaceae ) are used
Males often settle on damp ground to
imbibe mineralised moisture, especially in the dry season,
but both sexes are more commonly seen when visiting flowers.
In hilly areas the butterflies
migrate to the peaks, where courtship and copulation take place. Males
sit and bask on bushes, or among tall grasses, often for half an hour
or longer. Periodically they take to the wing and then spend several
minutes at a time circling around the hilltops, gliding on thermals,
but they usually return to the same perching place afterwards.