N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Troides darsius (Gray, 1852)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Papilio darsius Gray, 1852: 5.
Type locality: Ceylon (Sri Lanka)


, upperside , upperside    
Picture from: Moore 1901
Detailed view
Picture from: Moore 1901
Detailed view

Description of adults: Wingspan 165 - 175 mm (Bingham 1907). "Male. Upperside. Forewing rich black; in some specimens the borders of the outer veins are slightly paler than the ground colour. Hindwing with the basal area across half or two-thirds the cell, the abdominal border, and a broad outer marginal sinuous inner-edged band rich purplish-black, the end of the cell and the discal area being rich golden-yellow or paler olivescent-yellow, crossed by broad black veins, and in some specimens bearing a small black subanal and a costal spot, or more rarely a row of four spots; base of cell and submedian area thickly clothed with very fine long black hairs. Cilia of both wings alternated with white. Underside. Forewing duller black; the outer veins and end of cell more or less slightly bordered with bluish-grey streaks. Hindwing as on upperside; the abdominal margin brown.
Female. Upperside paler. Forewing dark olivescent brownish-black, with the outer veins and end of the cell longitudinally bordered with dusky olivescent-grey scales, hindwing with broad black basal area and outer marginal band, the discal area olivescent-yellow crossed by broad black veins and an outer curved confluent row of large ovate spots, which latter partly coalesce with the marginal band, the intervening submarginal yellow spaces being thus more or less obliterated; the discal space between the lower median and submedian vein dusky-grey. Cilia of both wings alternated with white between the veins. Underside. Forewing duller black, the vein streaks more defined and bluish-grey. Hindwing as on upperside. Thorax, head, antennas and legs black; abdomen above olivescent brownish-black, and in the male with slender yellow segmental bands, sides and beneath yellow, with a lateral row of black segmental spots in the male, and bands in the female; collar, and sides of thorax beneath crimson." (Moore 1901)


Following Bingham (1907), the species inhabits Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Moore (1881), citing Mackwood, says "abundant in the low country, and hills up to about 4000 feet."


Biology following Moore (1881), citing different authors:

"On the wing all the year round, but March and April are the months when they emerge from the chrysalis " (Mackwood). "This very fine insect is not uncommon in open woods, and may often be seen flying in pairs; — a female in the first place rising slowly and nearly vertically into the air, and then followed, at a short interval in the same direction and with the same style of flight, by a male, the two keeping about two or three feet apart, rising and falling in the air in perfect unison, as if for the period under the influence of a spell or of a kind of animal magnetism. The phenomenon recalls to mind the flying of two paper kites one above the other, both attached by a common string held in the hand, so simultaneously do the insects move together whilst keeping at the same distance apart. Sometimes a second or even a third male finds itself drawn under the same influence, and constrained, as it would seem, to follow the same mysterious leading under a similar sexual excitement or exaltation" (Dr. Thwaites´ MS. Notes).

Stages in development:

Larva Pupa, laterally    
Picture from: Moore 1901
Detailed view
Picture from: Moore 1901
Detailed view

Larva. "Cylindrical, dull purple-brown, with two dorsal rows and anterior and lateral rows of fleshy tubercles, those on the eighth segment and a streak from its base to lower end of seventh segment being pale pink; between the tubercles are dark brown streaks. Feeds on Aristolochia" (Moore 1901).

Pupa. "Pale purplish-ochreous, bent backwards anteriorly; thorax conical, the top flattened and its sides angled ; wing-cases dilated and flattened laterally in the middle, their outer edge acute; two middle segments of abdomen with a dorsal pair of conical prominences." (Moore 1901)


Diagnosis following Bingham (1907). "From cerberus it differs as follows: - . Fore wing: adnervular pale streaks not prominent on the upperside, more distinctly marked on the underside. Hind wing black, with a very broad discal slightly curved silky-yellow band or patch that extends beyond the cell from interspaces 2 to 7, and is composed of elongate outwardly emarginate yellow markings that are divided only by the black veins. In most specimens the inner margin of this band crosses the apex of the cell, but in many the cell is entirely black. Abdomen with some black markings beneath and a lateral row of black spots. - . Differs from cerberus in the much greater extent of the black on the hind wing. Interspace 1 with a pale dusky-white patch in the middle; interspace 7 with an inner and an outer yellow spot; cell entirely black or nearly so, sometimes, but rarely, with the yellow extended into the apex."

Worth knowing:


Bingham, C. T. 1907. Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Butterflies - Vol. II. Taylor & Francis, London, 480 pp., 20 pl.
Gray, J. E. 1852. Catalogue of lepidopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Printed by order of the Trustees, London, 84 pp., 13 pl.
Moore, F. 1881-1887. The Lepidoptera of Ceylon, vol. I-III. L. Reeve & co., London.
Moore, F. 1901-1903. Lepidoptera Indica. vol. V. L. Reeve & co., London.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2013.11.20
Kurz Michael: 2013.11.21
not reviewed