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a stealth jet, & copy cat?

These butterflies are just gorgeous! Not the planes from the air force i.e. the F-117 stealth jet fighter, rather I was referring to the lime butterfly (papilio demoleus) that is so common and widespread - also in my previous post here. It is also an example of the swallowtail butterflyalso known as the lemon butterfly, lime swallowtail, or chequered swallowtail. Surproise, surprise these names also reference its host plants, which are usually citrus species such as the cultivated lime.

And nature's other copycat is of course, the common mormon (papilio polytes). Widely known for its mimicry of other unpalatable cousins - choosing to copy the shape, colour and form of inedible red-bodied swallowtails, such as the common rose and the crimson rose.

The lime butterfly I spotted was resting - on a damp patch, where it was rather motionless, except for an occasional flutter of wings. But do not be deceived, it also has a number of modes of flight. In the cool of the morning, the flight is slow considering that it is an edible and unprotected swallowtail. As the day progresses, it flies fast, straight, and low.

And yes, it is perhaps the most widely distributed swallowtail in the world; found im almost every country on the globe.

And finally, I was being a little unfair calling the mormon a copycat. It was just trying to survive. This is referred to as Batesian mimicry is a form of mimicry where a harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a predator of them both. It is named after the English naturalist Henry Walter Bates, after his work on butterflies in the rainforests of Brazil.

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