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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Red Helen
Papilio helenus  LINNAEUS, 1758
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
subfamily - PAPILIONINAE
Tribe - PAPILIONINI
Papilio helenus Yoksam, West Sikkim, India Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
There are about 210 species of Papilio worldwide, about 60 of which occur in the Oriental region. The Oriental species include several butterflies such as helenus, iswara, iswaroides and nephelus that have a black ground colour, and whose hindwings have large white patches that are normally only seen when the insect is in flight.
Papilio nephelus and helenus are very similar, but the former is larger and has yellowish-orange spots on the underside hindwings, whereas these are red in helenus.
This species is found in India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Java.
Habitats
Papilio helenus is found in rainforest at elevations between sea level and about 1800m.
Lifecycle
The larval foodplants include Citrus, Toddalia, Xanthoxylum, Fagara and Euodia ( Rutaceae ).
Adult behaviour

Males are usually encountered singly or in two's and three's when imbibing mineralised moisture from damp ground. Females tend to be seen mainly when searching for oviposition sites, or when hovering at flowering bushes. The butterflies normally rest with their wings fully outspread, and with the forewings swept back so that they mask the white patch on the hindwings.

Papilio helenus Rimbi, West Sikkim, India Adrian Hoskins

 

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