Welcome to our exploration of the fascinating world of Papilio butterflies. In this article, we will delve into the scientific name and taxonomy of these beautiful creatures, shedding light on their classification and evolutionary relationships. Let’s embark on this educational journey to uncover the secrets of Papilio.

Key Takeaways:

  • Papilio butterflies belong to the Papilionidae family and the Papilio genus.
  • The scientific name for the Papilio demoleus butterfly is Papilio demoleus, as given by Linnaeus in 1758.
  • Papilio demoleus is native to Asia and Australia and has become an invasive pest in other parts of the world.
  • The butterfly is known by various common names, such as lime butterfly, lemon butterfly, lime swallowtail, and chequered swallowtail.
  • Papilio demoleus has a wingspan of 80 to 100 mm and its wings feature a distinct black and yellow pattern.

Range and Habitat

Papilio demoleus range

Papilio demoleus, the lime butterfly, has an extensive range and can be found in various countries and regions worldwide. This species is known for its adaptability to different habitats and can thrive in diverse environments.

In its natural habitat, Papilio demoleus can be found in:

  • Savannahs
  • Fallow lands
  • Gardens
  • Evergreen and semi-evergreen forests

Furthermore, the lime butterfly shows a preference for streams and riverbeds. In India, it is predominantly found in the plains but has also been observed in hilly regions. It is a common sight in urban gardens and wooded areas, highlighting its ability to adapt to human-altered landscapes.

With its strong flight capabilities, Papilio demoleus has successfully spread to new areas. Factors such as urbanization and agricultural land use have created new habitats and food sources for this butterfly, allowing it to expand its distribution.

The range of Papilio demoleus includes:

Middle East Syria
United Arab Emirates
South Asia India
Sri Lanka
Southeast Asia Myanmar
The Philippines
Southern China
East Asia Japan
Australia and Pacific Islands Indonesia
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Americas Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico

Taxonomy and Classification

Papilio taxonomy

The taxonomy and classification of Papilio butterflies have been the subject of extensive study. The genus Papilio includes more than 200 species, making it one of the largest and most diverse genera in the family Papilionidae. Researchers have proposed various schemes based on morphological characters, genetics, and evolutionary relationships to classify Papilio.

The most recent classification recognizes several subgenera within Papilio, including Chilasa, Eleppone, Heraclides, Papilio, Princeps, and Pterourus. These subgenera help to categorize different groups of Papilio butterflies based on their distinct characteristics and evolutionary relationships. However, there are still unresolved issues and disagreements regarding the placement of certain species and groups within the genus.

The classification of Papilio is not only important for understanding its evolutionary history but also for investigating ecological relationships, biogeography, and mimicry evolution within the genus. By classifying and categorizing different species, scientists can gain valuable insights into the relationships between Papilio butterflies and their environments, as well as the processes that have shaped their evolution over time.

“The classification of Papilio butterflies provides a framework for understanding their evolutionary history, ecological relationships, and biogeography.”

Phylogeny and Evolutionary Relationships

The phylogeny of Papilio butterflies is a fascinating subject of ongoing research and discussion. Numerous studies have utilized molecular data to uncover the evolutionary connections among various Papilio species and groups. These investigations have provided valuable insights into the processes of diversification and speciation that have shaped this diverse genus. However, the phylogeny of Papilio is still not completely resolved, resulting in uncertainties and conflicting results regarding the relationships between certain species and groups.

In order to establish a reliable and comprehensive phylogenetic framework for Papilio, a thorough analysis has been conducted using multiple gene fragments and a larger sample of species. This comprehensive phylogeny has yielded crucial insights into the evolutionary history of the genus, including the occurrence of host-plant shifts, the evolution of mimicry, and patterns of biogeography.

Furthermore, this sophisticated analysis has provided accurate age estimates for significant phylogenetic events, shedding light on the timing of diversification within Papilio. By examining the intricate relationships and connections between species, scientists can unravel the complex evolutionary processes that have influenced the remarkable diversity and adaptation seen in Papilio butterflies.


The study of Papilio butterflies, including their taxonomy, phylogeny, and evolutionary relationships, is an intriguing field of research that continues to captivate scientists and nature enthusiasts alike. Through extensive Papilio research and studies, significant advancements have been made in unraveling the complex taxonomy and understanding the evolutionary history of this diverse genus.

However, despite remarkable progress, many questions still remain unanswered, and ongoing discussions persist regarding the classification and intricate evolutionary relationships within Papilio. Further investigations and studies are necessary to shed light on these uncertainties and delve deeper into the intricate tapestry of Papilio butterflies.

One crucial achievement in Papilio research is the establishment of a comprehensive and reliable phylogenetic framework. This foundational framework, built through the analysis of molecular data and the utilization of advanced analytical techniques, serves as a vital resource for future inquiries into the diversity, ecology, and evolution of Papilio butterflies.

With each new study and discovery, scientists gain a deeper understanding of the remarkable complexity and adaptiveness of Papilio butterflies. The ongoing pursuit of Papilio studies not only enhances our knowledge of these captivating creatures but also contributes to broader scientific endeavors and our understanding of the natural world.


What is the scientific name of Papilio?

The scientific name for Papilio is Papilio demoleus.

What is the classification of Papilio?

Papilio belongs to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, Order Lepidoptera, Family Papilionidae, Genus Papilio, and Species Papilio demoleus.

What are some common names for Papilio?

Papilio is also known by various common names such as lime butterfly, lemon butterfly, lime swallowtail, and chequered swallowtail.

Where is Papilio native to?

Papilio is native to Asia and Australia.

Is Papilio an invasive species?

Yes, Papilio has become an invasive pest in other parts of the world, including the Western Hemisphere.

How long do Papilio butterflies live?

Male adults of Papilio live for about four days, while females live for about a week.

What is the wingspan of Papilio demoleus?

The wingspan of Papilio demoleus ranges from 80 to 100 mm.

What is the appearance of Papilio demoleus?

Papilio demoleus has black wings with a broad, irregular yellow band on the upper side. The underside of the wings is similar in color but with larger and paler cream-colored markings.

Where can Papilio be found?

Papilio can be found in a variety of habitats, including savannahs, fallow lands, gardens, and forests.

What do Papilio butterflies feed on?

Papilio butterflies have a preference for citrus species as host plants.

How many species are there in the Papilio genus?

The genus Papilio includes more than 200 species.

What are the subgenera within Papilio?

The subgenera within Papilio include Chilasa, Eleppone, Heraclides, Papilio, Princeps, and Pterourus.

What is the ongoing research on Papilio phylogeny?

Ongoing research on Papilio phylogeny aims to establish a comprehensive and reliable phylogenetic framework for the genus, shedding light on its evolutionary history and relationships with other species and groups.

Last Update: December 29, 2023