Nov 2009 — Lime Butterfly

A Lime Butterfly, Papilio demoleus malayanus, was resting on the glass door of Rochelle and Monika’s studio, and was much admired by all. Unfortunately for the butterfly, 5 minutes after it posed for photographs, a cheeky gecko came and ate it.

This, a familiar butterfly of gardens and villages, is one of a group all of which have remarkably similar caterpillars which feed on kinds of citrus. P. demoleus is the commonest: almost every small lime bush seems to have larvae.

The eggs are usually laid upon young leaves; the larvae first resemble bird-droppings, later becoming green with grey oblique markings which effectually disguise them. The pupa, like those of many Papilionid and Pierid butterflies, is able to adapt its colour, within limits, to its surroundings.

Common and widely distributed in S.E. Asia, New Guinea and Australia, this insect is not found in Java, Sumatra or Borneo.

From Common Malayan Butterflies, R. Morrell, Malaysian Nature Handbooks