The Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio demoleus), unlike most swallowtail butterflies, does not have a prominent tail. The species Papilio demoleus occurs as a number of subspecies over much of tropical Asia. The subspecies Papilio demoleus sthenelus is found across the mainland of Australia and New Guinea.

Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio demoleus sthenelus)
Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio demoleus sthenelus), Trephina Gorge

Like most swallowtail species, they usually feed from flowers while on the wing. They are often seen in a group, especially at the edges of water sources on a hot day. They imbibe the water up through their proboscis, remove any water soluble nutrients in their stomach, then squirt out the remaining water from their rear ends.

Common name
Lime Butterfly, Lemon Butterfly, Lime Swallowtail, Chequered Swallowtail. In many instances, the common names refers to the host plants they are seen on.

The caterpillars of the Chequered Swallowtail are known to feed on a variety of plant species in Australia, including Emu Foot (Cullen tenax), African Scurf Pea (Psoralea pinnata), Annual Verbine (Cullen cinereum), Curry Leaf Tree (Murraya koenigii), Lemon (Citrus limon), Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), Tall Verbine (Cullen australasicum), Spreading Scurf Pea (Cullen patens), Wild Orange (Microcitrus australis).

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Genus: Papilio
  • Species: P. demoleus
  • Subspecies: P. demoleus sthenelus
  • Binomial name: Papilio demoleus sthenelus

Footnote & References

  1. Chequered Swallowtail butterfly – Papilio demoleus, Brisbane Insects and Spiders Home Page,
  2. Papilio demoleus Linnaeus, 1758, Lime or Chequered Swallowtail, Papilionidae, Papilionoidea, Coffs Harbour Butterfly House,
  3. Chequered Swallowtail, Papilio demoleus sthenelus, South Australia Butterflies & Moths,
  4. Papilio demoleus, (last visited Dec. 2, 2021)

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