Lime Butterfly Facts
- This gorgeous creation of evolution is most often referred to by the descriptive common name of the Lime Butterfly. Yet it has other titles, used in various parts of its range. They include such terms as lime swallowtail and lemon butterfly, among others.
- Inside the scientific community, however, it’s likely much better known by its technical name. Thankfully for the layperson, that’s a comparatively simple one to pronounce. That’s because the invertebrate holds the official moniker of the Papilio demoleus.
- The beautiful Lepidoptera received that name due to the efforts of Carl Linnaeus. The eminent Swedish zoologist and botanist recorded the first official recognition of the creature as a separate and distinct species. That noteworthy deed occurred in 1758.
- The common name refers to its feeding habits. Regardless of the term one chooses to employ, however, it remains an amazing species. Among the reasons for this is the fact that this wonder of Nature also hosts an impressive six acknowledged subspecies.
- Fortunately, the marvelous Lime Butterfly appears to have a population base that’s both stable and sufficient. That pleasant fact also seems to hold true throughut the entirety of its native range. The IUCN thus presently has no listing for it on the Red List.
- The marvel of Nature nevertheless should be considered to be facing several potential threats to its existence, at least. Like many of its kind, most of these stem from the actions of humans. They include such perils as habitat loss and climate change.
Lime Butterfly Physical Description
The stunning Lime Butterfly understandably captures the attention of those who encounter one. But the Arthropod does so due to more than its beauty. That’s true given the fact that, in addition to that visual appeal, it’s also a moderately large variety of butterfly.
It also stands out from its peers in another way. That’s because, unlike most relatives, it displays virtually no easily noticeable degree of the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. Distinguishing the genders is thus extremely difficult for most observers.
A fully mature adult of both genders attains an average wingspan measuring between 3.2 – 3.9 in (8 – 10 cm). The sheer size of the wings, though, certainly isn’t the only distinctive feature of the insect. Unlike most swallowtails, this one does not display a prominent tail.
Its wings also manifest an intriguing shape. The forewing of both genders has an elongated structure to it. The hindwing of the beautiful Lepidoptera additionally possesses a notably rounded shape to it. The combination clearly makes for a visually striking package.
The wings of the Lime Butterfly also display a fascinating pattern of color. The upper surface presents a background of deep black. That’s broken by an irregular yellow band, broken on the forewing. Multiple yellow spots and a red spot with blue edging also shows on each wing.
The underside, though, displays a different pattern. A background of black appears near the tips of the wings only. The rest of the underside has a background of white or light yellow. Multiple black lines and yellow-orange spots compliment this remarkable coloring.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Papilionidae
- Genus: Papilio
- Species: P. demoleus
Lime Butterfly Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The magnificent Lime inhabits a comparatively broad expanse of the globe. In fact, it has the greatest range of any known variety of swallowtail butterfly. The precise location of that zone of habitation might surprise many people, though. It’s native to Australia and Asia.
In Asia, it appears as far west as Syria and Iraq. To the south, though, it’s present as far as the Philippines and Indonesia. In Australia, it’s present in most of the region, including New Guinea and Lord Howe Island. It has also now spread to many Pacific Ocean islands.
Nature provided this marvel with a high degree of adaptability regarding its habitat. Some of the regions in which it makes its home include areas of evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, fallow lands, savannahs, and even residential areas such as small gardens.
It’s also prevalent at a wide range of altitudes. In India, the creature is found as high as 7,000 ft (2,100 m) above sea level. The remarkable insect does show a decided preference for the presence of either riverbeds or streams in the areas in which it chooses to live, though.
The Lime Butterfly evolved behavioral patterns common to members of its Family. It usually rests with its wings spread wide. It also rarely flies more than 3.3 ft (1 m) above the ground. During the heat of the day, however, it spends much of its time resting on damp areas.
The female lays her eggs singly, usually on the top of a leaf. The larvae later feed on a number of local plant species. Both these and the adults fall prey to many predators, such as spiders and birds. It has the shortest lifespan among its kind, with adults living only 4-7 days.