The Swallowtails (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) of Papua Indonesia
by Jan Moonen
There are 29 species of the family Papilionidae in Papua Indonesia. 10 species of the tribe Leptocircini, 9 of the tribe Troidini and 10 of the tribe Papilionini.
The most spectacular butterfly species are without doubt the birdwing butterflies of the genus Ornithoptera. Most of the Ornithoptera species are genuine Papuan butterflies. Ornithoptera alexandrae (Rothschild, 1907) does not occur in Papua Indonesia but flies on the other side of the mainland of New Guinea in a small area in Papua New Guinea (Taututu, Popondetta, Afore, Wanigela).
The systematics of the family Papilionidae are studied by several authors including Rothschild (1895) and Jordan (1908-10) who placed all of the Papilioninae species into the genus Papilio, but they had sorted them into species groups mainly based on the adult stage: the butterfly. The authors Ford (1944), Munroe (1961), Hancock (1983), Igarashi (1979), Miller (1987), Häuser (1993) and Parsons (1996) studied the family Papilionidae more and more systematically using also more and more data of early stages.
In this website I use the systematics given by Miller (1987) combined with the results of Parsons (1996), excluding the polydorus group which is here regarded as a distinct genus: Pachliopta Reakirt, 1864.
Since Jordan in 1908 proposed his ordening of the genus Papilio in species groups, all later authors followed him concerning the genus Atrophaneura sensu Parsons (1996) in using the same species groups. Of course later discovered species are added to the species groups. This shows that there is apparently no doubt on the consistency of these groups.
I do fully agree with Parsons (1996) about the strong evidence of early stage characteristics for searching the origin of butterfly groups, but one cannot ignore the relatively young specialisms of the adults. These indicate the latest steps of evolution that has caused the distinct groups within the bigger group (Atrophaneura sensu Parsons). In the Indo-malayan region many species may have evolved in and since the Ice Age(s), in geological terms just quite recent. The polydorus group is more differentiated from the other species groups in Atrophaneura (sensu Parsons) because of its unique male genitalia in the Papilionidae. Therefore I will treat the polydorus group as a distinct genus, Pachliopta. The genus Pachliopta contains 17 species (Page & Treadaway,1995). In Papua only Pachliopta polydorus occurs.
Because conservation managers usually are no insect specialists, it is also better in view of nature conservation to indicate these different groups with a valid name. This does not alter anything in the older relations between these groups.
In the Papilionidae sexual dimorphism is a common feature (see figures above). Sometimes the differences between the sexes are so strong that one might think to deal with two different species. In the Papuan species Papilio aegeus the female has three different forms. In his article on the Papilio aegeus group Hancock (1983) made a proposal for the use of terms like form, variety and aberration.
This page is under constant construction. This means that at any time new species can be added. Please check this page now and then for more information.
The checklist is based on relevant literature and completed with collection data.
Listed Papua species: 30 [3 endemic species and 31 endemic subspecies for Papua]
Graphium Scopoli, 1777
sg. Graphium Scopoli, 1777
eurypylus (Linnaeus, 1758)
ssp. lycaonides (Rothschild, 1895)
agamemnon (Linnaeus, 1758)
ssp. ligatus Rothschild, 1895
macfarlanei (Butler, 1877)
ssp. macfarlanei (Butler, 1877)
wallacei (Hewitson, 1858)
ssp. wallacei (Hewitson, 1858)
weiskei (Ribbe, 1900)
ssp. weiskei (Ribbe, 1900)
codrus (Cramer, 1779)
ssp. medon C.& R.Felder, 1864
ssp. schoutensis Talbot & Joicey, 1916 [endemic]
isander (Godman & Salvin, 1888)
ssp. imparilis (Rothschild, 1895)
sg. Pathysa Reakirt, 1864
aristeus (Stoll, 1782)
ssp. parmatus (Gray, 1852)
felixi (Joicey & Noakes, 1915) [endemic]
thule (Wallace, 1865)
Pachliopta Reakirt, 1864
polydorus (Linnaeus, 1763)
ssp. godartianus (Lucas, 1852) [endemic]
ssp. leodamas (Wallace, 1865) [endemic]
ssp. asinius (Fruhstorfer, 1904) [endemic]
ssp. mamberamus (Toxopeus, 1950) [endemic]
ssp. humboldti (Rothschild, 1908) [endemic]
ssp. ackeryi Fujioka, 1997 [endemic]
ssp. meforanus (Rothschild, 1908) [endemic]
ssp. wangaarensis (Joicey & Talbot, 1924) [endemic]
ssp. ceramites (Fruhstorfer, 1916) [endemic]
ssp. auster (van Eecke, 1915) [endemic]
ssp. tsukadai Fujioka, 1997
Troides Hübner, 1819
oblongomaculatus (Goeze, 1779)
ssp. papuensis (Wallace, 1865)
Ornithoptera Boisduval, 1832
goliath (Oberthür, 1888)
ssp. goliath (Oberthür, 1888) [endemic]
ssp. ukihidei Hanafusa, 1994 [endemic]
ssp. samson Niepelt, 1913 [endemic]
joiceyi Noakes & Talbot, 1915
ssp. atlas (Rothschild, 1908) [endemic]
sorongensis Morita & Sugiyama, 1998
ssp. supremus (Röber, 1896)
schönbergi (Röber, 1896)
tithonus (De Haan, 1840) [endemic]
ssp. waigeuensis (Rothschild, 1897)
waigieunsis Rippon, 1898 [incorrect spelling]
waigiunsis Rippon, 1902 [incorrect spelling]
ssp. misoolana Deslisle, 1985
ssp. dominici Schäffler, 1999
ssp. misresiana (Joicey, Noakes & Talbot, 1916)
ssp. tithonus (de Haan, 1841)
prominens (Joicey & Noakes, 1916)
makikoae Morita, 1998
ssp. cytherea (Kobayashi & Koiwaya, 1980)
rothschildi (Kenrick, 1911) [endemic]
chimaera (Rothschild, 1904)
ssp. charybdis (van Eecke, 1915) [endemic]
dracaena (Joicey & Talbot, 1916)
ssp. chimaera (Rothschild, 1904)
ssp. flavidior (Rothschild, 1913)
draco Rousseau-Decelle, 1935
paradisea (Staudinger, 1893)
ssp. galatea Sugiyama, 2000 [endemic]
ssp. occidentalis Morita & Takenaka, 1998 [endemic]
ssp. arfakensis (Joicey, Noakes & Talbot, 1916) [endemic]
ssp. chrysanthemum Kobayashi & Koiwaya, 1979 [endemic]
ssp. flavescens (Rothschild, 1897) [endemic]
ssp. detanii Schäffler, 2001 [endemic] [stat. incert.]
ssp. borchi Haugum & Low, 1974
meridionalis (Rothschild, 1897)
ssp. tarunggarensis (Joicey & Talbot, 1926) [endemic]
priamus (Linnaeus, 1758)
ssp. teucrus (Joicey & Talbot, 1916) [endemic]
ssp. kasandra Kobayashi,1994 [endemic]
ssp. poseidon Doubleday, 1847
valentina Vuillot, 1892 (dwarf form)
euamidas Fruhstorfer, 1913
eurysaces Fruhstorfer, 1913
ssp. aureus Parrot, 1988 [endemic] [stat.incert.]
ssp. sterrensis Parrot, 1990 [endemic] [stat.incert.]
(after Miller,1987 without subgenera; species-groups after Hancock,1983)
laglaizei Depuiset, 1877
ssp. laglaizei Depuiset, 1877
kumiokae Okano, 1988
euchenor Guérin-Ménéville, 1829
ssp. euchenor Guérin-Ménéville, 1829
ssp. eutropius Janson, 1886 [endemic]
ssp. misolensis Rothschild, 1908 [endemic]
ssp. comma Joicey & Noakes, 1915 [endemic]
deiphobus Linnaeus, 1758
ssp. deipylus C.& R.Felder, 1864 [endemic]
ssp. aristartus Fruhstorfer, 1916 [endemic]
ssp. efbensis Talbot, 1932 [endemic]
ambrax Boisduval, 1832
ssp. ambrax Boisduval, 1832
ssp. artanus Rothschild, 1908 [endemic]
fuscus Goeze, 1779
ssp. beccarii Oberthür, 1880 (1879 nom.nud.)
ssp. offakus Fruhstorfer, 1904 [endemic]
albinus Wallace, 1865
ssp. misoolana Goode, 2012 [endemic]
ssp. albinus Wallace, 1865 [endemic]
ssp. yahukimo Goode, 2012 [endemic]
ssp. yapenensis Goode, 2012 [endemic]
ssp. leucophanes Grose Smith, 1894
aegeus Donovan, 1805
ssp. ormenus Guérin-Méneville, 
ssp. othello Grose-Smith, 1894 [endemic]
ssp. aegatinus Rothschild, 1908 [endemic]
demoleus Linnaeus, 1758 [introduced]
lorquinianus C.& R.Felder, 1865
ssp. albertisi Oberthür, 1880 [endemic]
ssp. apollodorus Fruhstorfer, 1909 [endemic]
ssp. dewaro Joicey & Talbot, 1922 [endemic]
ssp. pratti Goode, 2011 [endemic]
ssp. roxanae Goode, 2011 [endemic]
ssp. avona Goode, 2011 [endemic]
ssp. manggasi Goode & Burke, 2012 [endemic]
ssp. ochoco Shimogori, 1997 [endemic]
ulysses Linnaeus, 1758
ssp. autolycus C.& R.Felder, 1865
ssp. dirce Jordan, 1909 [endemic]
ssp. denticulatus Joicey & Talbot, 1916 [endemic]
Checklist last updated on 25th September 2014
General Literature (specific literature is given on the species pages)
Ford, E.B., 1944. Studies on the chemistry of pigments in the Lepidoptera, with reference to their bearings on systematics. 4. The classification of the Papilionidae.
Hancock, D.L., 1980. The status of the genera Atrophaneura Reakirt and Pachliopta Reakirt (LEP., Pap.). Aust.ent.Mag. 7(2): 27-32.
Hancock, D.L., 1983. Classification of the Papilionidae (LEP.): a phylogenetic approach. Smithersia 2:1-48.
Hancock, D.L., 1988. A revised classification of the genus Atrophaneura Reakirt (LEP., PAPILIONIDAE). Aust. ent. Mag. 15(1): 7-16, 1988.
Häuser, C.L., 1993. Critical comments on the phylogenetic relationships within the family Papilionidae. Nota Lepidopterologica 16(1):34-43.
Igarashi, S., 1979. Papilionidae and their early stages. (in Japanese) Vol.I Text:1-218. Kodansha, Tokyo.
Igarashi, S., 1984. The classification of the Papilionidae mainly based on the morphology of their immature stages. Tyô To Ga 34(2): 41-96.
Jordan, K., 1908-1910. Papilionidae, Papilio bis Armandia. in Seitz: Großschmetterlinge der Erde. Die Indo-Australische Tagfalter. IX: 11-109,112; Pls.1-49.
Miller, J.S., 1987. Phylogenetic studies in the Papilioninae (Lep.: Pap.). Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 186(4).
Morinaka, S. et al, 1999. Molecular phylogeny of Birdwing butterflies based on the represen tatives in most genera of the tribe Troidini (Lep., Papilionidae). Entomological Science 2(3): 347-358.
Munroe, E., 1961. The Classification of the Papilionidae (Lep.) The Canadian Entomologist suppl.17: 1-51.
Page, M.G.P. & C.G. Treadaway, 1995. Revision of the classification of Pachliopta aristolochiae (Fabricius, 1775) (Lep., Pap.) with special reference to the Philippine Islands. Nachr. entomol. Ver. Apollo, Suppl. 14: 125-148.
Parsons, M.J., 1996. Gondwana Evolution of the Troidine Swallowtails (Lep.: Pap.): Cladistic Reappraisals Using Mainly Immature Stage Characters, with Focus on the Birdwings Ornithoptera Boisduval. Bull. Kitakyushu Mus. Nat. Hist. 15: 43-118.
Parsons, M.J., 1998. The Butterflies of Papua New Guinea. Their Systematics and Biology. Academic Press.
Rothschild, W., 1895. A Revision of the Papilios of the eastern Hemisphere, exclusive of Africa. Nov. Zool. II(3):167-463.
Tsukada, E. & Y. Nishiyama, 1982. Papilionidae. In Tsukada, E. (ed.): Butterflies of the South East Asian Islands. 1: 457 pp. Plapac Co. Ltd. Tokyo.