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Atrophaneura aristolochiae

Atrophaneura aristolochiae
Photo Information
Copyright: Haraprasan Nayak (haraprasan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1570 W: 101 N: 5421] (20403)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-01-12
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Tamron 18-200mm F3,5-6,3 XR DiII LD Asp, Kenko UV 62mm
Exposure: f/11, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2008-09-24 5:10
Viewed: 4026
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Excretion in Butterflies
Here in this picture you can see this common rose is excreting excess of water from its body.

The Common Rose (Atrophaneura (Pachliopta) aristolochiae) is a swallowtail butterfly belonging to the Pachliopta subgenus, the Roses, of the genus Atrophaneura or Red-bodied Swallowtails. It is a common butterfly which is extensively distributed across South and South East Asia.

It is widely distributed in Asia. Afghanistan, Pakistan, India(includes Andaman islands) , Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Japan (south-western Okinawa only), Laos, Vietnam, Kampuchea(now Cambodia), Nicobar islands, peninsular and eastern Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines (Palawan and Leyte), Indonesia.

In China, it is distributed in southern and eastern China (including Hainan, Guangdong province), Hong Kong and Taiwan. In Indonesia, it is distributed in Sumatra, Nias, Enggano, Bangka, Java, Bali, Kangean, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Tanahjampea and Kalimantan.

It is also recorded from Pune.


The Upperside of male is velvety black.

Fore wing with well-marked pale adnervular streaks on the discal area that do not reach the terminal margin, the latter broadly velvety black; the streaks beyond end of cell extended inwards into its apex.

Hind wing with elongate white discal markings in interspaces 2-5 beyond the cell.

In dry-weather specimens these markings are very short and do not nearly reach the bases of the interspaces; beyond these a curved series of subterminal lunular markings in interspaces 1 to 7 dull crimson irrorated with black scales, the spot in interspace 1 large, irregular, diffuse, margined interiorly with white.

On the Underside of the males, the ground-colour and markings is similar, but the red subterminal spots on the hind wing much brighter;it is not irrorated with black scales, better defined, the anterior four subquadrate, the next two crescentic, sometimes quadrate also, the spot in interspace 1 triangular and pointed. Antennae, thorax and abdomen above up to the preanal segment black; the head, sides of prothorax above, and of the whole of the thorax and abdomen beneath vermilion-red; anal segment vermilion-red.

Female is similar the males; they differs from the male only in the comparatively broader wings and this is most conspicuous in the fore wing.


It is the commonest of the large tailed butterflies of India and one of the most interesting butterflies for the Indian amateur naturalist to observe.

The red body, slow peculiar flight, bright colouration and pattern of the wings are meant to indicate to predators that this butterfly is inedible, being well protected by the poisons it has sequestered from its larval food plant. 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.

The Common Rose frequently visits flowers such as Lantana, Cosmos, Zinnia, Jatropha and Clerodendron. The butterfly occasionally also visits wet patches. In parts of Sri Lanka, the males are known to congregate and form a beautiful sight while mud-puddling.

The Common Rose is active much earlier in the mornings than most butterflies and remains so throughout the day until dusk. It flies just as readily in the shade as in the sun, and frequently visits flowers .

In drier regions around noon, the butterfly rests in thickets to avoid the mid-day heat. Here, it will rest and ventures forth only in the late afternoon once again.

In the evenings, it retires into wooded areas or thickets in search of dead twigs or small branches on which to roost. It prefers sites that are 10 to 15 feet above ground, below the canopy in trees with sufficient cover from the elements, where it frequently roosts in the company of others of its type, and, sometimes, in the company of the Crimson Rose.

It flies high, slowly and often descends to nectar on flowers below. 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 Common Rose is often the preferred species to show the amateur naturalist the utility of the tails in steering. This can be most easily observed when the Common Rose hovers over flowers to sip nectar. Then, its forewings beat readily to give it buoyancy while the tails move delicately to steer and adjust its position.

It has been considered in the past that these tails are primarily for deception as in the case of the Lycaenids where the thread-like tails resemble antennae and confuse the attacker as to the location of the head. On occasions, Roses have been observed with damaged tails and it is possible that the presence of swallowtails occasionally does favour the butterfly in confusing attackers.

Collectors over the years have found the red-bodied swallowtails hard to kill. The pinch on the thorax which kills most butterflies is easily withstood, and, apparently only stuns the butterfly temporarily. It recovers quickly and flies out of the net to the utter consternation of the unwary collector.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae
Subfamily: Papilioninae
Genus: Atrophaneura
Subgenus: Pachliopta
Species: aristolochiae

accassidy, jrobertop, Alutka, matatur, eqshannon, MMM, techranger, crs, Dis. Ac., siggi, boreocypriensis, jaycee, jusninasirun, goutham_ramesh, oscarromulus, Silvio2006, parthasarathi has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Haraprasan,
Very comprehensive note. Good, clear image of this mud-puddling Swallowtail. Good DOF and composition. Colours are a little pale, perhaps could be improved with a bit stronger contrast. Thanks.

Hello Haraprasan.
A true marvel!
Very good perpective, excellent framing.
Splendid coloration and very well detailed.
The note is very informative.
Congratulations and TFS!
Josť Roberto

jak zwykle motyl pokazany pełnej krasie!
Ciekawy gatunek i ciekawa notka.
Moje wyrazy uznania i gratulacje.

A fine capture of a swallowtail extruding excess water on the ground Haraprasan, not a frequently observed phenomenon I'm sure. The ant's-eye-view clearly demonstrates the salient characteristics of this beautiful specimen, TFS this my friend.

Superior note findings...and an excellent recording of a part of the natural world which is at times overlooked but certainly something which goes on each day millions of times to the power of infinity! fine image HP!

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-09-24 7:15]

Hello Haraprasan
Nice composition.Good POV and sharp image.Your text is also extremely interesting.
TFS Michel

Beautifully captured and composed with extensive, informative notes as well. Very captivating on the harsh dirt landscape.



  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-09-24 8:16]

Hello Haraprasan,

It is an interesting moment you have captured in your photo. The note you have written is also interesting containing many information. There is a good contrast between insect and backgroun making it very visible.

Thank you for sharing,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-09-24 8:57]

Hi Hara,this is a great scoop,wonderfull timing to take the pic and very nice point of view,perfect quality as your style,my best compliments,have a nice day,Luciano

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-09-24 9:35]

Hello Heraprasan,
Excellent presentation and a wonderful photo of this beautiful Atrophaneura. The background is Very good, showing the butterfly to best advantage.
Regards Siggi

Hi my dear friend Haraprasan:)
A funny and excellent shot of this beautiful butterfly with very impressive sharpness and clarity. Great timely shot too:) Excellent POV and composition. Thanks for sharing this fine image.


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-09-24 12:34]

Hi Haraprasan,

A wonderful mud puddling Common Rose. Do they excrete the water by separating the wing from the body? I saw a butterfly doing this but had no idea what was happening. This is beautiful with superb colors and marvelous details. I love the wings with their subtle patterns.


Hello Haraprasan. Stunning shot perched on the ground. Pristine sharp details with well managed light and shadow. I like the clarity and details of the framing and best regards. Jusni

A decent record shot of butterfly excreting, the puddling actually helps the butterfly in its reproductive cycle and they excrete more than their body weight in a day!.
The picture is bit noisy and the shooting conditions were not favorable I think, other wise a decent pic.
Goutham R

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-09-25 6:38]

Hello HP, Lovely long note and very very informative. But the shot to my notice is not your usual shot. Looks like either it was hazy or was in a slight hurry probably could be that they dont idle too long. Ganesh

NAMASTAY Haraprasan,
Loved your notes.
But this image is EXCEPTIONALY great.
The FOCUS is on the "TINY" drop.
In all humility I'll present you with this W/S showing the "DROP" itself.
Mario your student.

Ciao Haraprasan, interesting capture of elegant butterfly, fine details and excellent sharpness, I like a lot, ciao Silvio

Your pictures of insects and butterfly always attract me both for your clicking and notes.

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