The Tailed Jay, Graphium agamemnon

Tailed Jay

The Tailed Jay butterfly is jet black and covered in bright lime green spots and stripes. The wing underside is light brown streaked with pink and covered with lighter green spots. Males and females look similar. The Tailed Jay is found in the rainforests of south and southeastern Asia and Australia. Their colours help camouflage them with the surrounding foliage while flying through the shaded understory. Adults prefer nectar from verbena (Lantana spp.).

Young caterpillars are dark brown with a humped thorax. The rear segments bear a large, white spot resembling a saddle. Some segments have soft, grey spines. Older larvae are plump and bright green with soft black spines. The caterpillar has a hidden pair of soft, yellow horns behind its head. When disturbed, these horns are pushed out and a foul-smelling liquid is sprayed from them. Caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants from the Custard Apple (Annonaceae) and Magnolia (Magnoliaceae) families. Caterpillars pupate in light green chrysalides hung from the undersides of leaves.

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