Butterflies of Australia
Dainty Swallowtail
Papilio anactus  MACLEAY, 1826
subfamily - PAPILIONINAE
Papilio anactus Mt Ainslie, Canberra, Australia David Fischer
Back in the 18th century when Linnaeus created the System Naturae, the word Papilio was used as the genus name for every known species of butterfly in the world. Since then much has been learnt about the relationships between different species. Consequently most have been reassigned to new genera, and only about 215 of the 17600 currently known species are retained in Papilio. There are 6 Papilio species in Australia, plus another 11 species from other genera of Papilioninae.

Papilio anactus is endemic to Australia and is distributed from Cairns to Victoria and South Australia.

This species naturally inhabits forest glades and clearings but has also become a pest of cultivated Citrus in orchards. It occurs at elevations between sea level and about 1500m.
The pale yellow spherical egg is laid singly on Citrus, Eremocitrus and Microcitrus ( Rutaceae ). The fully grown caterpillar is bluish-black peppered with tiny white dots. It has large yellow heart-shaped spots along the back and sides. The pupa is pale brown and is attached vertically to a stem.
Adult behaviour

Both sexes have a slow lazy flight and patrol back and forth on a regular route along forest tracks.


Contact  /  About me

Butterfly-watching holidays

Trip reports

UK latest sightings

Frequently asked questions

Strange but true !

Taxonomy & Evolution



Enemies of butterflies

Survival strategies

Migration & dispersal

Habitats - UK / Palaearctic

Habitats - Tropical rainforests

Butterfly world census

Butterflies of the World :

British Isles


Amazon & Andes

North America

temperate Asia


Indian subcontinent

Malaysia & Borneo

Papua New Guinea

Australia & N.Z.

Insects of Britain & Europe

Insects of Amazonia

Moths of the Andes

Saturniidae - Silkmoths

Caterpillars of the World

Butterfly Photography

Recommended Books



Code of practice

Copyright - text & images

Copyright - text & images






All photographs, artwork, text & website design are the property of Adrian Hoskins ( unless otherwise stated ) and are protected by Copyright. Photographs or text on this website must not be reproduced in part or in whole or published elsewhere without prior written consent of Adrian Hoskins / learnaboutbutterflies.com

Site hosted by Just Host