The Common Mormon, Papilio polytes

Common Mormon

The Common Mormon is widespread across southern Asia, from Sri Lanka and India to southern Japan,the Philippines, and Sunda Islands. Their wingspan measures 9 – 11 cm.

The Common Mormon is well-known for its females that mimic various species of inedible Red Swallowtails. Because of this unique characteristic, wild Common Mormon females exist in three different forms: one form that looks like the Common Mormon males and two swallowtail mimic forms. Males occur in only one form.

The males are black with white spots along the outer forewing edge and a white band across each hindwing. In the conservatory, females have black forewings with white veins. The hindwings are black and edged with red spots. Each hindwing has a large white and red spot at its centre.

The Common Mormon can be found in both natural and urban areas. Caterpillars feed mostly on citrus plants in the Rutaceae family.

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