Atrophaneura sycorax (Grose-Smith, 1885)

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The fore wings: Male. Length forewing/wingspan 67-78/115-122 mm. Forewing upperside and underside black with more or less developed pale streaks on both sides of the veins. H 

The hind wings:  Hindwing outer margin crenulate, upperside black with a violet-grey area in outer third leaving black, rounded, marginal and submarginal spots,enlarged tornus/anal area white with pink edge; underside similar, but pale area whiter and anal area black. 

The body:  

Sex differences: Female. Length forewing/wingspan 74-88/126-142 mm. Similar to male but pale areas more extensive and no extended tornal/anal area.

Variation and infraspecific taxa: Varies mainly in the extent of the pale areas on the hindwing; three subspecies have been distinguished.

Similar species: It is the only species in the genus with a yellow underside of the abdomen, the other species having a red underside.

Habitat: Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
This species is thought to fly at the edge of forests and seldom visits streamsides (Kimura et al. 2011). The host plant for subspecies A. s. egertoni is thought to be Aristolochia vallisicola , a plant with an endangered status found in Peninsular Malaysia (Yao 2015). It is thought that the larvae of this species defoliate young Aristolochia vallisicola plants and then girdle the stem base just before they metamorphose into pupae, and then the plant is able to regenerate (Yao 2012).
(IUCN 2020)

Population: This species was considered rare by Collins and Morris (1985) and very rare by Kimura et al. (2011), however, quantitative population data are unavailable.
Range: This species is found in Southern Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia (Sumatra and western Java; Collins and Morris 1985). At the subspecies level, subspecies A. s. sycorax is found in Western and Eastern Sumatra, subspecies A. s. egertoni is found in southern Myanmar, Thailand (in the Ranong province, in Surat Thani, in Nakohn Sri Thammarat and in Patalung; Kimura et al. 2011) and peninsular Malaysia, and subspecies A. s. carolinae is found in western Java and southern Sumatra (J. Moonen pers. comm. February 2019). A specimen of this species was found in Gunung Leuser National Park, at an altitude of 160-200 m (Dahelmi et al. 2009), and a male specimen of carolinae was photographed at 1,000 m in Western Java (J. Moonen pers. comm. April 2019). No other altitudinal information is available. Its estimated extent of occurrence is in excess of 1.5 million km2.
(IUCN 2020)

Occurrence and observation maps

Map of Life

Host plants (as foodsource for larvae (L) or adults (A)) :


  • Collins, N.M. and Morris, M.G. 1985. Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World. The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN, Gland and Cambridge.
  • Dahelmi, Salmah, S. and Herwina, H. 2009. Survey of swallowtail butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) at Several National Parks of Sumatra. Universitas Andalas Padang.
  • IUCN. 2020. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2020-3. Available at: (Accessed: 10 December 2020).
  • Kimura, Y., Aoki, T., Yamaguchi, S., Uemura, Y. and Saito, T. 2011. The Butterflies of Thailand based on Yunosuke Kimura Collection. Mokuyosha, Tokyo.
  • Yao, T. L. 2015. Aristolochiaceae. ResearchGate.
  • Yao, T.L. 2012. Aristolochia vallisicola (Aristolochiaceae), a new species from Peninsular Malaysia. PhytoKeys 14: 15-22.