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The widespread range of Papilio demoleus indicates the butterfly's tolerance and adaptation to diverse habitats.

It is to be found in savannahs, fallow lands, gardens, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and shows a preference for stream and riverbeds.

Detailed description as given by Charles Thomas Bingham in 1905: "Upper side of wings has the ground colour black.

The fore wing has the base below cell and basal half of latter so irrorated with yellow scales as to form more or less complete transverse dotted lines, two outwardly oblique yellow spots in cell and a curved spot at its upper apex; a spot at base and another beyond it in interspace 8; a discal transverse series of cream-yellow spots irregular in arrangement and size extends from interspace la to 8; the series interrupted in interspace 5 and the spot in interspace 7 double; this is followed by a sinuous postdiscal series of spots and an admarginal terminal series of smaller spots.

This butterfly is an avid mud-puddler and visitor of flowers.

It basks with its wings held wide open on tufts of grass, herbs and generally keeps within a metre of the ground, even on cloudy days. It is an interesting butterfly in that it has a number of modes of flight.

In the hotter part of the day, it may be found settling on damp patches where it will remain motionless, except for an occasional flutter of wings, if not disturbed.

It is also a frequent visitor of flowers in gardens, where it shows a preference for flowers of smaller herbs rather than larger plants such as the ubiquitous Lantana with its plentiful blooms.

It can be found swarming in the groves of its food plants.

Research on freshly emerged imagines of Papilio demoleus showed that they have an inborn or spontaneous preference while feeding for blue and purple colours while the yellow, yellowish-green, green and blue-green colours are completely neglected.

The other morphologically related butterflies are: The citrus swallowtail (Papilio demodocus Esper), flies in Sub-Saharan Africa where the common lime butterfly (subspecies Papilio demoleus demoleus) is also found while the other three species are endemic to Madagascar.

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