The Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus) is a common insect in the family of swallowtail butterflies. It is also known as the Lemon Butterfly, the Lime Swallowtail, and the Chequered Swallowtail. Unlike most swallowtails, it does not have the swallow-shapped tail.
The Lime Butterfly is black with a wide irregular yellow band and irregular spots on its wings. Its upper hindwing (back wing) has a red spot with blue edging. Its underside is similar to its upperside, but paler. It has dark reddish-brown club-shaped antennae. Its body is black.
It has a wingspan of 8-10 centimetres (3-4 inches).
The Lime Butterfly is common worldwide. It is the most widely distributed swallowtail in the world. This means that it can adapt to many different climates and habitats, such as savannahs, gardens, forests, and riverbeds.
The adult butterfly sips nectar from flowers, whereas the caterpillar (the larvae stage) eats plant leaves.
The female Lime Butterfly lays a single egg on many leaves. The egg hatches into a caterpillar after 3-6 days. The caterpillar eats leaves and after 12-22 days it undergoes metamorphosis (changes) into a pupa, which is a casing called a chrysalis. The pupa stage is 8-22 days. The adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. The adult butterfly lives for 4-6 days.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM