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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Chain Swordtail
Graphium aristeus  STOLL, 1780
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
subfamily - PAPILIONINAE
Tribe - LEPTOCIRCINI
Graphium aristeus male, Buxa, West Bengal, India   Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The genus Graphium is widespread in the Old World, with 35 species in the Afrotropical region, 14 in the Oriental region, 6 in the Holarctic ( south and west China ) and 20 in the Australian region.
Almost all of the Oriental and Australasian species are characterised by the presence of a pattern of translucent green, turquoise or yellowish 'windows' in their wings. Arguably the most beautiful and unusual of all the Graphium species is weiskei from Papua, which is patterned with vivid pink and green on a dark brown ground colour. There are a several species however such as antiphates and aristeus which have pure white uppersides, marked with prominent vertical black stripes. A few including antiphates, aristeus and the African policenes have very long sword-like tails. Some of the Oriental species e.g. codrus, cloanthus and certain races of agamemnon have short tails, but in others including sarpedon, doson and eurypylus the tails are greatly reduced or absent.
Graphium aristeus is found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, West Malaysia, the Philippines, Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, Java, Bali, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia.

Graphium aristeus Ultapani, Assam, India   Adrian Hoskins

Habitats
This species inhabits rainforest and humid deciduous forest at elevations between about 200-800m.
Graphium aristeus Ultapani, Assam, India   Adrian Hoskins
Lifecycle
The caterpillar feeds on Miliusa, Polyalthia and Mitrephora, all members of the Annonaceae.
Graphium aristeus male, Buxa, West Bengal, India   Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour
Males often migrate along river courses, where they aggregate with other Graphium species at patches of damp ground to filter-feed, using their proboscises to suck up water from which they extract sodium and other minerals. They constantly pump water through their bodies, expelling the surplus from the anus, using it to dissolve further minerals from the ground, which they re-imbibe. They usually quiver their wings constantly while feeding, and usually face into the breeze.
 

 

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