Image contributed by U.K
photographer Michael Godfrey
Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Also known as the Christmas Butterfly.
The Citrus Swallowtail range extends from Senegal to Somalia, Yemen, and Oman and down to Southern Africa.
They thrive in a variety of ranges, from semi - desert and secondary forests to acacia scrubs, arboreta and parks or gardens.
When the wings are open showing the dorsal side, the primary wings have a black coloration.
The border has two chains made of small spots in yellow, with a similar chain in the middle of the wing.
Around the edge there are a few large yellow spots.
Both the hind wings are also black based with no tail, but with a pair of chains made of tiny yellow spots.
The middle and the edge have a chain of large spots in the same color.
With the wings are closed, showing the ventral sides of both the fore and hind wings are almost the same.
There are some yellow lines in the fore wings, close to the body, and an additional blue and white chain in the hind wings, as well as similar yellow lines to those in the fore wings.
The courtship ritual is similar in all Papilionidae species.
After a female enters the vision of a male, the male moves quickly to hover over her so that his wings beat rapidly.
The female is then induced to land so that the male can attempt to mate with her.
(There are several ways that the male entices the female, including visual, olfactory, tactile, and auditory cues.)
Particularly interesting are Papilionidae species use of olfactory cues.
Male produce pheromones from different structures, such as that of the anal fold of the hindwing, that cause the females to respond as desired.
Occasionally, females reject a male's attempt to mate, typically because she has already mated. She can do so by avoiding his approach or, if she has landed, she will flap her wings quickly and deliberately while raising her abdomen until the rejected male flies away.
Because of this, courtship is primarily the choice of the female.
It has been learned that females produce a pheromone that helps males to determine if a female has already.
Citrus Swallowtails mate primarily via the lek system, in which there are accumulations of males in small mating areas.
When the female arrives at the lek, her behavior changes to help the males to detect her
She does this by performing a long and protracted circular flight.
(The species operates on a polygynous system in which one male has the ability to mate with several females in one breeding season.)
In (Papilio glaucus), which is the same genus as (Papilio demodocus), the lack of male to male competition, along with strong rapid flight, dispersed abundant food, and oviposition sights helped to support the idea of mating system based on polygyny.
The females are prevented from mating with other males when the male emits a sphragis, which prevents other males from mating with the female, ensuring that only the sperm from this male fertilizes the eggs.
Copulation takes between one half hour to two hours.
Citrus swallowtails typically have three generations per year.
Adults have a life span of approximately 1 to 3 weeks.
Citrus Swallowtails, like most members of the Papilionidae family have relatively slow, quite erratic flight patterns.