Thailand, Malaysia &
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
Tribe - LEPTOCIRCINI
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 & west
China ) and 20 in the Australian region.
Most of the
Oriental and Australasian species are characterised by the presence
of a pattern of
translucent green, turquoise or yellowish "windows" in their wings.
There are a few however such as aristeus
from New Guinea and the Oriental species
euphrates which are predominantly white, marked with vertical
black stripes. Arguably the most beautiful and unusual of all is
weiskei from Papua, a tailed species
patterned with vivid pink and green on a dark brown ground colour.
species such as the African policenes
have very long sword-like tails. Some of the Oriental species e.g.
and certain races of agamemnon have
short tails, but in others including sarpedon,
eurypylus the tails are greatly reduced or absent.
Graphium agamemnon is one of the most
widespread species in the genus, being found from India and Sri
Lanka to Hong Kong, and through the archipelago to Papua New Guinea,
Queensland and the Solomon Islands.
This species is found in open habitats including
forest clearings, riverbanks and beach hinterlands, at elevations
between sea level and about 500 metres.
spherical, pale green eggs are laid singly on the upperside of young
leaves of sapling trees in the
family Annonaceae. Species used include Ancana,
Polyalthia ( a widely planted ornamental tree ),
Saccopetalum, Uvaria and
Caterpillars have also been found on
Michelia ( Magnoliaceae ) and
Cinnamomum ( Lauraceae ).
When young the
caterpillar is ochreous-brown, with a white saddle on the rear
segments. The anal segment and each of the thoracic segments is
adorned with a pair of short multi-branches spines. Throughout its
life the caterpillar habitually rests on the upperside of a leaf,
along the midrib, and feeds by nibbling large chunks from the tip of
the leaf, while leaving the midrib intact. The mature caterpillar is
plump, mid green in colour, with small suffused blotches of darker
green. The spines by this stage are much reduced, becoming nothing
more than a set of tiny black spikes.
The chrysalis is
pale green or light brown, with a brown-tipped thoracic horn. It is
attached by the cremaster and a silken girdle to the underside of a
Graphium agamemnon agamemnon,
Bukit Tapah, West Malaysia ©
Graphium species are generally more
robust than their relatives in Papilio
and have a stronger and more purposeful flight.
In common with other
agamemnon males adopt a filter-feeding technique, sucking up
water through their proboscises, pumping it out through the anus, and
then re-imbibing it. This enables them to extract dissolved minerals,
and prevents them from becoming dehydrated in the tropical heat. Both
sexes commonly nectar at Lantana.
Prior to mating both sexes can
often be seen circling around the tops of flowering trees, using these
as assembly points where courtship takes place. After mating, males
visit damp sand and gravel to replenish essential minerals lost during
sperm transfer. G. agamemnon
visits sandbanks and river beaches in
much lower numbers then its relative sarpedon
- a typical aggregation might consist of 50
sarpedon, 20 doson and just 1 or 2