Great Mormon Swallowtail

Great Mormon Swallowtail – Papilio memnon

Swallowtail butterflies are large, colorful butterflies in the family Papilionidae. There are at least 550 species, and though the majority are tropical, members of the family are found on all continents except Antarctica. The family includes the largest butterflies in the world, the birdwing butterflies of Australia.

Adults of both sexes have three pairs of walking legs, though most males have fused segments in their front legs. Most adults visit flowers for nectar, but some harvesters feed on wooly aphid honeydew and some hairstreaks feed on aphid honeydew or bird droppings. Females lay single eggs on host plants.

Children love butterflies, adults love butterflies and museums find them easy to raise and maintain – everybody wins. This happy circumstance is also good for the wild butterflies – people who used to go into the rain forest and capture live butterflies, or plunder their eggs and chrysalises now might work on butterfly farms, thereby sparing our wild populations, and providing much needed jobs for people.

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