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The Swallowtails (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae, Papilioninae) of Papua Indonesia

by Jan Moonen




Graphium (Pathysa) thule (Wallace, 1865)


Papilio thule Wallace, 1865: New Guinea
Papilio thule: ‘local form a’ Wallace, 1865: Waigeu
Papilio goldiei Godman & Salvin, 1880 (forma): New Guinea
Papilio leuthe Grose Smith, 1894 (forma): Humboldt Bay
Papilio thule: Rothschild, 1895 (Humboldt Bay, German N.Guinea, Waigeu)
Papilio princeps Weymer, 1902 (syn.): Deutsch Neu Guinea
Papilio thule f. viridicans Fruhstorfer, 1904
Papilio thule alfredi Fruhstorfer, 1904: Waigeu (= ‘local form a’ Wallace, 1865)
Papilio thule f. fumosa Jordan, 1909: British N.Guinea: hills -- Redscar Bay
Papilio thule f. leuthe, Jordan, 1909: Waigeu, N. Holländisch N.G., Deutsch N.G.
Papilio thule f. thule, Jordan, 1909: Waigeu, Neu-Guinea
Papilio thule f. goldiei, Jordan, 1909: Waigeu, Neu-Guinea
Papilio thule: Rothschild, 1916 (Wollaston exp.: Base Camp)
Graphium thule: D’Abrera, 1971 (Waigeu, W.Irian, New Guinea and Papua); Parsons, 1998 (Waigeo and mainland NG with list of localities in PNG)

Taxonomic notes

Graphium (Pathysa) thule is a variable species:

A few forms were described, as listed here:
f. goldiei Godman & Salvin, 1880 (= princeps Weymer, 1902)
f. thule Wallace, 1865
f. alfredi Fruhstorfer, 1904
f. leuthe Grose-Smith, 1894
f. fumosa Jordan, 1909
These forms occur everywhere in the range. The greenish color of the white parts (f. viridicans Fruhstorfer) is not visible in the specimens in ZMAN. The figures by Wallace, 1865, are printed unnaturally green. These forms are supposed to be mimics of Danainae like Ideopsis juventa (= Danais sobrina Wallace, 1865). Also Tirumala hamata is mentioned (Parsons, 1998).

fig. 1 (male) f. goldiei Godman & Salvin, 1880 (from type description)

fig. 2 (male) a. upperside, b. verso. cf. f. goldiei Bomberai Peninsula 1912-1913 (RMNH)

fig. 3 (male) f. thule Wallace, 1865 (from type description)

fig. 4 (male). a. upperside, b. verso. f. thule N.N.G. 1930 (RMNH)

fig. 5 (male). a. upperside, b. verso. f. thule N.N.G. (RMNH)

fig. 6 (male). a. upperside, b. verso. As f. thule but white field on hindwing more compact. Misool X.1987 (RMNH)

fig. 7 (male). ‘local form a’ Wallace, 1865 (from type description) = alfredi Fruhstorfer

fig. 8 (male). a. upperside, b. verso. alfredi Fruhstorfer Noord N. Guinea, Oost Tami 26.X.1935 (RMNH)

fig. 9 (male). a. upperside, b. verso. f. leuthe Oost Tami 23.X.1935 (RMNH)

fig. 10 (male). a. upperside, b. verso. f. leuthe Miei (RMNH)






STATUS: Not very common. Seems restricted to coastal lowland areas.

PAPUA LOCALITIES: Misool Island; Waigeo Island; New Guinea: Base Camp (Wollaston exp.), Humboldt Bay, Manokwari, Miei, Nabire, Oost Tami, Timika. Details in gazetteer.


DATA SOURCES: RMNH. Literature (see below).







D'Abrera, B., 1971. Butterflies of the Australian Region. Lansdowne Press Pty Ltd, Melbourne: 415 pp.
Fruhstorfer, H., 1904. [Title unknown: descriptions of Papilio] Ins. Börse 21:180-181,188.
Godman & Salvin, 1880. Descriptions of some supposed new species of Butterflies from New Guinea. Proc. zool. Soc. Lond. 1880(4): 609-614, ill. (April 1881)
Grose-Smith, 1894. An account of a Collection of Diurnal Lepidoptera made by Mr. Doherty at Humboldt Bay, Dutch New Guinea, and in neighbouring islands. Part II Novitates Zoologica 1: 331-365.
Igarashi, S., 1979. Papilionidae and their early stages. (in Japanese) Vol.I Text:1-218, ill. Vol.II Plates color:1-223; bl/w:1-32; bl/w:1-102 (foodplants) Kodansha, Tokyo. (15.VIII.1979)
Jordan, K., 1908-1910. Die Indo-Australische Tagfalter. Papilionidae. Papilio to Armandia. In Seitz, Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde 9:11-109,112, pls 1-49.
Mastrigt, H.van & E. Rosariyanto, 2005. Kupu Kupu, Untuk Wilayah, Mamberamo Sampai, Peg. Cyclops. Conservation International.
Parsons, M., 1998. The Butterflies of Papua New Guinea. Their Systematics and Biology. Academic Press. San Diego, etc.
Rothschild, W., 1895. A Revision of the Papilios of the eastern Hemisphere, exclusive of Africa. Novitates Zoologica II(3):167-463. pl.4. (Aug.1895)
Rothschild, W., 1916. Lepidoptera collected by the British Ornithologists’ Union and Wollaston Expeditions in the Snow Mountains, Southern Dutch New Guinea. Reports on the collections B.O.U.exp. and W.exp. Vol.II. London, 1916 (Papilionidae p.1-4)
Wallace, A.R., 1865. On the phenomena of variation and geographical distribution as illustrated by the Papilionidae of the Malayan Region. Trans. linn. Soc. Lond. 25(1):1-71, Pls 1-8.
Weymer, G., 1902. Zwei neue Tagfalter aus Neuguinea. Ent. Zeitschrift 2, 15.4.1902. * The source of this publication on Papilio princeps by Weymer is often refered to as “Jordan, 1909 ex synon” which is not familiar to many researchers. click on this link to read the publication.