Pachliopta polydorus (Linnaeus, 1763)

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The fore wings: Male. Length forewing/wingspan 45/80 mm. Head either pink or black. Upperside and underside forewing black, broadly creamy white along the veins, giving the forewing a striped appearance; underside forewing. H 

The hind wings:  Hindwing. Upperside and underside hindwing black with conspicuous red submarginal spots and a short white band consisting of creamy white spots in space 1c to 4 and top of cell, separated by black aveins.  

The body:  

Sex differences: Female. Length forewing/wingspan 50/90 mm. Similar to male, but larger and forewing more rounded, and the creamy white color is white, more or less dusted with black.

Variation and infraspecific taxa: Variable in extent and tinge of wing patters. More than 30 subspecies have been recognised by some authors, but differences are small and there is much overlap; possibly only a few "real" subspecies will survive a severe scrutiny.

Similar species: Almost certainly a model for several mimics, including male Cressida cressida, female Papilio ambrax and female Papilio phestus, but wing pattern, especially of the hindwing, is different. The red abdominal markings, always present in P. polydorus, are always absent in Papilio.

Habitat: Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane (Unknown Suitability)
The host plant of this species is thought to be of the genus Aristolochia (Page and Treadaway 2003), however the specific host plant(s) is not known. Danielsen and Treadaway (2004) further characterise this species as a lowland species, with a likely altitudinal range somewhere between 0 to 700 m asl. Page and Treadaway (2003) suggest the habitat is broken lowland forest.
(IUCN 2020)

Population: In a previous status assessment of the world's swallowtails in 1985, this species was described as being not uncommon (Collins and Morris 1985). This was however prior to recent taxonomic changes to this species. Some authors still report the species to be common in some parts of the Philippines, but often these refer to different species. For example, the previously recognised subspecies P . p. strandi was reported as being common in La Union Botanical Garden of North Luzon, Cadaclan (Nacua et al. 2015); however, strandi has since been elevated to species level. Page and Treadaway (2004) classified each of the previously recognised subspecies as uncommon. Danielsen and Treadaway (2004) describe the population of this species as being probably stable.
Range: This species is endemic to the Philippines, where it is found in western Mindanao and Basilan (Page and Treadaway 2004). The distribution was previously stated as more extensive, but since then, taxonomic revision has established that two subspecies should be placed as a separate species, Pachliopta strandi (see Treadaway 1995, Page and Treadaway 2004). It is considered a lowland species with a probable altitudinal range of 0-700 m asl (Danielsen and Treadaway 2004). Its estimated extent of occurrence is approximately 32,000 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.
  • Danielsen, F. and Treadaway, C.G. 2004. Priority conservation areas for butterflies (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) in the Philippine islands. Animal Conservation 7: 79-92.
  • IUCN. 2020. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2020-3. Available at: (Accessed: 10 December 2020).
  • Nacua, A.E., Mohagan, A.B. and Alejandro, G.J.D. 2015. Diversity and distribution of butterflies in the open and close canopy forests of Cadaclan, San Fernando La union botanical garden of North Luzon, the Philippines. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences 6(1): 169-177.
  • Nacua, A.E., Mohagan, A.B. and Alejandro, G.J.D. 2015. Species Composition and Status of Butterflies in the Sunny and Shady Habitats of Cadaclan, San Fernando, La Union Botanical Garden of North Luzon, Philippines. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences 6(1): 169-177.
  • Page, M.G.P. and Treadaway, C.G. 2003. Papilionidae of the Philippine Islands I. Descriptions of New Subspecies and Changes in Classification. Part 17, supplement 8. Butterflies of the world, Verlag Goecke & Evers.
  • Page, M.G.P. and Treadaway, C.G. 2004. Butterflies of the World. Hillside Books, Canterbury.
  • Treadaway, C.G. 1995. Checklist of the butterflies of the Philippine islands (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera). Nachrichten Entomologischen Vereins Apollo (N.F.) Supplement 14: 7-118.