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In the eighteenth century, ‘Papilios’ was a name commonly used by naturalists to describe various species of large butterfly that are now classed as members of the family Papilionidae.

The Papilionidae include some 600 species of butterfly commonly known as Swallowtails, Parnassians and Birdwings. Most Papilionidae are large and brightly coloured with tails on their hindwings. Most species range from tropical to more temperate regions, although the Parnassians, as the name implies, are mostly found in mountainous regions and are have adapted to strong cold winds.

Papilionidae caterpillars are usually brightly coloured with horn like structures. Many also give off a pungent odour when their unappetising appearance fails to deter would-be predators. In many species caterpillars gain additional protection from feeding as a group.


Prepared by: Turnbull, P.
Created: 3 November 2001
Modified: 1 December 2001

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000121

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