Project Description

Citrus Swallowtail, christmas butterfly, orange dog

Adult. The female is larger than the male and the anterior blue spots of her hindwings (obscured here) have orange on the outer side as opposed to yellow in the male.

This is the common, large black and pale yellow butterfly seen regularly in gardens in South Africa and also occurring in natural vegetation. It occurs in open, often disturbed, habitats throughout Africa south of the Sahara, as well as on the Cape Verde Islands, Madagascar and Mauritius (Ackery et al. 1995). It can be a pest of citrus saplings in nurseries and, although found on mature citrus trees, does not cause sufficient damage to warrant instituting control measures. On young plants, if larvae and pupae do reach high levels, the best control procedure is evidently to simply pick them off by hand.

The Citrus swallowtail passes through about three generations during spring, summer and autumn, and the winter period is usually spent hibernating as a pupa. One can, however, see the occasional adult during winter.

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