|Copyright: Philip Rose (willow)
|Date Taken: 2006-06-12|
|Exposure: f/7.1, 1/640 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2006-10-18 13:16|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Common Rose |
The Common Rose (Atrophaneura (Pachliopta) aristolochiae) is a large swallowtail butterfly. With a wingspan of 80-95 mm belonging to the Pachliopta subgenus, the Roses, of the genus Atrophaneura or Red-bodied Swallowtails. It is extensively distributed across:
Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, southern and eastern China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Laos, Vietnam, Kampuchea, Andaman islands, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Indonesia.
Species: A. (P.) aristolochiae
Binomial name Atrophaneura (Pachliopta) aristolochiae
The butterfly is an excellent generalist which has adapted to a range of habitats, so is a common visitor to gardens and can even be found in crowded urban areas. it is active much earlier in the mornings than most butterflies, and remains so throughout the day.
Though, in drier regions around mid-day, the butterfly visits thickets to avoid the heat. Here, it will rest and venture forth only in the late afternoon once again.
The butterfly occasionally also visits wet patches and mud-puddles.
It flies high, slowly and often descends to visits flowers such as Lantana, Cosmos, Zinnia, Jatropha and Clerodendron. On such occasions it often dives down with its wings held back, and as it approaches the flower, the wings open up to provide deceleration. The butterfly primarily depends on motive thrust on the powerful flapping of its forewings while the hind wings act as a balancing and steering mechanism. This flying technique gives a rather unusual look to its flight and an observer is left with the impression that it is dragging itself through the air with only the assistance of its forewings.
The red body and slow peculiar flight, with bright colouration and pattern of the wings are indications to predators that this butterfly is inedible, being protected by the poisons it ingested from its larval food plants.
The larvae feed on creepers and climbers of the genus Aristolochia, where they sequester toxins such as aristolochic acid in their bodies. This makes the adults toxic to predators such as birds and reptiles. However Braconid wasps which parasitise the caterpillars have apparently co-evolved with the butterfly and are not affected by the toxins.
It also emits a nasty smelling substance when handled to further enhance its unappealing qualities. Hence it is rarely attacked by predators, a strategy so successful, that edible butterflies have evolved to mimic it, the classical example being that of the female morph of the Common Mormon that is Papilio polytes, female form stichius.
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