Did You Know – Large Striped Swordtail Butterfly

See below for the latest in our ‘Did You Know’ educational factsheet series.

Sword tail butterfly Scientific name: Graphium antheus  Identificaton: Upperside: Black with turquoise bands and spots. Transverse bands in forewing are wavy. Underside: Similar pattern but grey/brown with pale green markings.  Behaviour:  Flight is high and rapid. Both sexes visit flowers. Males tend to be found in hundreds on wet mud. Larvae and caterpillars are diapausal meaning that if the environmental conditions are not right they will continue to 'sleep'.  Wingspan: Male - 65-70mm Female - 70-75mm  Male/ female: Similar markings on male and female  Diet: Adult butterflies do not need to eat as they obtain most of the food they need as caterpillars. They do however drink. Using their proboscis (mouth-piece like a straw) they suck nectar from plant flowers and tree sap. Males will also suck up salts from the drying mud. Larvae feeds on various leaves, flowers, and fruit dependant on region.  Communication: Communicate with chemical signals  Distribution: Within South Africa: From, coastal lowland forest from Eastern Cape to savannah in KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo province.  Habitat: Forest edges and flatlands.  Predators: Varied predators from Chameleons to birds. Roughly summarised to 'anything that can catch them'  Did you know: - You can tell moths and butterflies apart by their antenna. Butterflies have straight antenna whilst moths have ones that resemble TV aerials to help them fly at night. - Butterflies only fly in the daytime

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