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

Papilio xuthus Linné, 1767

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Papilio xuthus Linnaeus, 1767: 751.
Type locality: India orientalis (China, Kanton following Savela 2012).
Type: Lectotype: "Lectotype"; "ajax [Linnaeus]"; "xuthus 751 [Smith]"; in coll. The Linnean Collections at The Linnean Society of London (pictures).

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Papilio xanthus auctorum nec Linnaeus, 1758. Lapsus calami.
Papilio xuthulus Bremer, 1861: 463. Type locality: Russia, Amur region, Bureja mountains. Junior subjective synonym.
Papilio xanthus xuthulus f. hondoensis Fruhstorfer, 1908: 47. Type locality: Japan, Gifu. Unavailable seasonal form.
Papilio xuthulinus Murray, 1874: 166. Nomen nudum.
Papilio xanthus koxinga Fruhstorfer, 1908: 46. Type locality: Formosa. Subspecies ?
Papilio xanthus neoxuthus Fruhstorfer, 1908: 46. Type locality: China, Ta-tsien-lu. Subspecies ?
Papilio xanthus neoxanthus Fruhstorfer, 1908: 47. Misspelling.
Papilio xanthus neoxanthus f. xuthina Fruhstorfer, 1908: 47. Type locality: China, Siao-Lu. Unavailable seasonal form.
Papilio xuthus ab. igneus Sheljuzhko, 1913: 15. Type locality: Japan, Ogaki. Unavailable infrasubspecific name.

Nomenclatural notes: In 1758, Linné has described Papilio Eques ajax (Linné 1758: 462), probably based on a specimen of the later described Papilio xuthus, mixing it up with figures from earlier authors and giving its patria as "America borealis". In North America, species later figured as P. ajax include Eurytides marcellus (Cramer, 1777), Eurytides polyxenes asterius (Stoll, 1782) and Papilio glaucus Linnaeus, 1758. Therefore, the original description applied to several different insects. The same specimen that has originaly been labelled as "ajax" by Linné, has later been selected as Lectotype of P. xuthus, although the description of P. xuthus probably based on one of the other two specimens in the Linnean collection. This assumption is due to the fact, that Linné stated that P. xuthus is very similar to P. ajax (Linné 1767: 751). I.C.Z.N. Opinion 286 suppressed the name ajax, and placed it on the Official Index of Unavailable and Rejected Names as name no. 68, although stating it as "incorrect original spelling of Papilio xuthus Linné, 1767: p. 751" (ICZN 1987: 311), which is incorrect (see also animalbase 2012).
Also in 1758, Linné has described Papilio Danaus xanthus (Linné 1758: 472), probably referring to a Danaid or Satyrid species, but obviously not to Papilio xuthus. No specimens with the name xanthus are available in the Linnean collection, so the specific meaning of the name is unclear and the name Papilio xanthus is not available. Later authors (e.g. Fruhstorfer 1908) erroneously have used the name Papilio xanthus for Papilio xuthus (lapsus calami).

Asian Swallowtail, Chinese Yellow Swallowtail

Habit:

: China, Hunan, 2008.07, coll. Michael Kurz : China, Hunan, 2008.07, coll. Michael Kurz underside: China, Hunan, 2008.07, coll. Michael Kurz underside: China, Hunan, 2008.07, coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
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Picture from: Kurz Michael
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Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 1 , 1 . Wing expanse: 86 mm, 90 mm. Description from Bingham (1907). ". Upperside black with cream-coloured markings as follows: Fore wing: cell with four or five slender somewhat broken streaks from base that extend for two-thirds of its length, followed by a short transverse bar and another similar bar along the discocellulars; a streak from base not extended beyond the disc in interspaces 1a and 1, the streak in the latter angulated downwards below origin of vein 2, its apical portion double; a discal series of elongate subtriangular spots that decrease in size towards the costa, in interspaces 2 to 7, the spots in 6 and 7 with an oval black medial spot generally dividing them in two; a spot near base of interspace 8 followed by a diffuse small patch of similarly coloured scales; finally a subterminal complete series of lunules. In the between the discal and subterminal series of cream-coloured markings there is a complete postdiscal series of transverse somewhat diffuse pale spots. Hind wing: a broad streak from base nearly filling the cell, a streak in interspace 1 extended for three-fourths of its length; shorter streaks in the interspaces beyond the cell; that in interspace 7 interrupted by a large black spot (this spot in the paler); a postdiscal series of diffuse spots, cream-coloured (except the tornal spot which is blue) in the , blue in the , followed by a subterminal series of cream-coloured lunules, the lunule at the tornal angle centred with black in the , in the also centred with black but with its upper half ochraceous; the lunule in interspace 8 with its upper horn elongate, produced down the tail. Underside: fore wing similar, the cream-coloured markings broader, the postdiscal series of transverse spots present also in the ; in both sexes that and the subterminal series form continuous bands. Hind wing: the cream-coloured markings very broad on the basal half of the wing, separated only by the black veins; a discal irregular black band composed of large black spots between the veins, these spots are traversed on their inner halves by a line of diffuse blue and cream-coloured scaling, and in some of the interspaces margined inwardly and outwardly by a shading of ochraceous; the subterminal series as on the upperside but much larger and formed of somewhat irregular quadrate spots."

Variability: There seems to be little geographically correlated variability only. Most forms named by Fruhstorfer (1908) and others are probably infrasubspecific only or are unavailable seasonal forms. Furthermore, differences between seasonal forms are only slight, especially in the south of the range, whereas in Siberia the spring form is smaller, with narrower black vein-streaks (f. xuthulus Bremer, see Seitz 1909). The wing expanse is given by Bingham (1907) as ranging from 102-120 mm, the females usually being larger than the males, f. xuthulus being distinctly smaller.

Distribution:

The species is distributed from Upper Burma through China to Corea and Japan. It is common in eastern China, except the south, not reaching Hongkong. It is also common on the Liu Kiu and neighbouring Islands and Taiwan, but more rarely in the Ussuri and Amur regions (Bingham 1907, Seitz 1909, Savela 2012). P. xuthus has been introduced also to Hawaii (Savela 2012). We do not have any information on the vertical distribution.

Biology:

P. xuthus feeding on Asclepias curassavica: without data Japan, Osaka-fu, 2007.06.09 Hawaii, Oahu, Waialua, 2002.09.22 Taiwan, Makung city, 2009.09.23
Picture from: www.flickr.com: AMCOW (creative commons)
Detailed view
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Kenpei (creative commons)
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Picture from: www.flickr.com: carla kishinami (creative commons)
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Picture from: www.flickr.com (creative commons)
Detailed view

The butterflies are common in gardens, probably due to the habit of the Japanese and many Chinese to surround the gardens with hedges of Aegle sepiaria (= Poncirus trifoliata), where the animals frequently fly up and down. In the northernmost areas of its range, P. xuthus flies only in one generation, but normally two generations are observed in May and June and from June till September. The spring form is less common, frequenting flowering sallows (Seitz 1909).

Stages in development:

Egg: Taiwan, Makung city, 2009.08.16 Larva, first instar: Taiwan, Penghu county, 2009.09.05 Larva, probably fourth instar: Taiwan, Tainan city, 2008.11.19 Larva, moulting to fifth instar: Japan, Tokyio,2011.05.27
Picture from: www.flickr.com (creative commons)
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Picture from: www.flickr.com (creative commons)
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Picture from: www.flickr.com (creative commons)
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Picture from: www.flickr.com: urasimaru (creative commons)
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Larva, probably fifth instar: without data, 2007.12.08 Larva, showing its osmeterium: Taiwan, Makung city, 2010.06.20 Larva, preparing for pupation: Taiwan, Makung city, 2009.07.16 Pupa: Taiwan, Makung City, 2009.07.18
Picture from: www.flickr.com: Fluoride´s memories (creative commons)
Detailed view
Picture from: www.flickr.com (creative commons)
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Picture from: www.flickr.com (creative commons)
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Picture from: www.flickr.com (creative commons)
Detailed view

Description of early stages following Seitz (1909) and previously published pictures.

Egg. The egg is globular, with a smooth surface, yellowish-white in colour.

Larva. The young larva imitates a bird-dropping. The caterpillar is very similar to that of Papilio bianor Cramer, 1777. It is bright green with grey, white-marked, transverse bands on third, fifth and twelfth, and similar oblique bands over seventh and eighth segments; above the prolegs, large, rounded, white spots. The larvae feed from June to November on Aegle sepiaria (= Poncirus trifoliata), Phellodendron amurensis, Zanthoxylum ssp., Citrus ssp. and Evodia ssp..

Pupa. The pupa is green, rarely brown; the anterior abdominal segments laterall somewhat swollen and carinate; processes on head strongly developed, an obtuse, somewhat thorn-like process on thorax. The pupa overwinters.

Diagnosis:

P. xuthus : China, Hunan, 2008.07, coll. Michael Kurz P. benguetanus : Philippines, Luzon, Mount St. Thomas, 2008.03.15, coll. Michael Kurz P. machaon chinensis : China, Sichuan, Luzhou area, 2008.07, coll. Michael Kurz P. xuthus underside: China, Hunan, 2008.07, coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   
P. benguetanus underside: Philippines, Luzon, Mount St. Thomas, 2008.03.15, coll. Michael Kurz P. machaon chinensis underside: China, Sichuan, Luzhou area, 2008.07, coll. Michael Kurz    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   

P. xuthus is very similar to Papilio benguetana Joicey & Talbot, 1923, an endemite of the Philippines which is regarded as subspecies only by some authors. It is distinguished from that species by the less rounded wings and broader tails on the hindwings. Furthermore, P. xuthus somewhat resembles Papilio machaon Linné, 1758, but the yellow colour is more resticted and there are three black longitudinal streaks in the cell of the forewing (Seitz 1909).

Worth knowing:

Sources:

animalbase 2012. Url: http://www.animalbase.uni-goettingen.de/zooweb/servlet/AnimalBase/home/speciestaxon?id=8631 [online 7 February 2012].
Bingham, C. T. 1907. Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Butterflies - Vol. II. Taylor & Francis, London, 480 pp., 20 pl.
Fruhstorfer, H. 1908. Lepidopterologisches Pele-Mele. Neue ostasiatische Rhopaloceren. Entomologische Zeitschrift 22: 46-47.
ICZN 1987. Opinion 286. ajax, Papilio, Linnaeus, 1758, Systema Naturae, Ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 462 (suppressed under the plenary power for the purposes of the Principle of Priority but not for those of the Principle of Homonymy).
Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae, Ed. X. (Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.) Holmiae. Systema Nat. ed. 10 i-ii + 1-824.
Linnaeus, C. 1767. Systema naturae, Tom. I. Pars II. Editio duodecima reformata. - pp. 533-1327, [1-37]. Holmiae. (Salvius).
Savela, M. 2012. Lepidoptera and some other life forms. Papilio Linnaeus, 1758. - available at: http://ftp.funet.fi/index/Tree_of_life/insecta/lepidoptera/ditrysia/papilionoidea/papilionidae/papilioninae/papilio/index.html [online 06 February 2012].
Seitz, A. 1909. The Macrolepidoptera of the World. 1. Section, 1. Volume: The Palearctic Butterflies. Verlag Alfred Kernen. Stuttgart, 379 pp., 89 pl.

Publication data:

history:
Kurz Michael: 2011.04.01
Kurz Michael: 2012.02.07
Kurz Michael: 2012.02.21
Kurz Michael: 2012.02.23
Kurz Michael: 2012.02.24
Kurz Michael: 2012.07.16
Document reviewed by:
not reviewed: 2012.07.16
Document released by:
Kurz Michael: 2012.07.16

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