Common Mormon

Papilio polytes

''Papilio polytes'', the common Mormon, is a common species of swallowtail butterfly widely distributed across Asia.

This butterfly is known for the mimicry displayed by the numerous forms of its females which mimic inedible red-bodied swallowtails, such as the common rose and the crimson rose.
Osmeterium! Osma means smell in latin and Osmeterium is defensive orgain with pungent smell in Papilionidae that is Swallowtail butterflies. When I was trying my best to get a shot of this beauty, a wasp appeared from nowhere and hovered close to the caterpillar. That it when this cute looking larva revealed its vibrant crimson red weapon. I was amazed looking at that through viewfinder and now I obviously wanted to make an attempt to capture that. Caterpillars or any animals when threatened try to hide themselves in a spot ASAP and that is what even this caterpillar did after showing the tentacular structure twice. It was approaching internal; main branch side of the plant and before disappearing into it completely wasp made another attempt giving me this not so bad record. So here is a collage, where you can see a retracted Osmeterium bove and then how it looks when exerted out for defense display. The bifurcated look of the Osmeterium coupled with eye spots on caterpillar are also to make them appear like a snake to fool their predators. Abhijeet Jagtap,Abhijeet Ramesh Jagtap,Butterflies of India,Caterpillar,Common Mormon,Common Mormon Butterfly,Dhanmill Naka,Geotagged,Incredible India,IncredibleIndia,India,Indian Butterflies,Maharashtra,Mumbai,Papilio polytes,Prabhadevi


Jet black butterfly with row of white spots along the middle part of hindwing. 90–100 mm.
Curry caterpillar from the curry land ;-) Bird dropping mimicry is done best by a caterpillar of Common Mormon butterfly, but what I was not expecting was, how the bird dropping instar transformed into this beauty! Curry leave plant is the host plant of the Common Mormon butterfly and I did try to observe it the next day to see if I could see any pupae or chrysalis stage or not but unfortunately no sign of it (must've got predated). These caterpillars devour the whole plant but nothing to worry, the leaves of the plant regrow after these cats give it a pruning. The caterpillar has a defense mechanism, about which I will post again with an image I somehow managed to capture with a lot of difficulties. Till then, enjoy this! Butterflies,Butterflies of India,Butterfly,Caterpillar,Caterpillars,Common Mormon,Common Mormon Butterfly,Dhanmill Naka,Incredible India,India,India Butterflies,Indian,Indian Lepidoptera,Lepidoptera,Lepidopteras of India,Maharashtra,Mumbai,Papilio polytes,Papilionidae,Prabhadevi


The common name is an allusion to the polygamy formerly practiced by members of the Mormon sect according to Harish Gaonkar, of the Natural History Museum in London:
... the origins of giving common English names to organisms, particularly butterflies for tropical species started in India around the mid 19th century ... The naming of Mormons evolved slowly. I think the first to get such a name was the Common Mormon , because it had three different females, a fact that could only have been observed in the field, and this they did in India. The name obviously reflected the ... Mormon sect in America, which as we know, practiced polygamy.

The scientific name is constructed from the Latin word for butterfly, ''papilio'', and the Greek word for many, ''poly''.
Papilio Polytes Javanus - Common Mormon This is an unusual classification for this butterfly in my opinion, classed as a sub-species of polytes which has long tails. Although you can see the presence of very stunted tails, I believe it is closer in appearance to memnon, the great Mormon. However, with the significant form and color differences, I believe it should have had its own species name.

Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields. Bandung,Common Mormon,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Papilio polytes,Summer,West Java,butterfly,common Mormon,pap,papilio,papilionidae


Very common. Not threatened.
Common Mormon Butterfly, Papilio polytes javanus - Female  Common Mormon,Fall,Geotagged,Indonesia,Papilio polytes


The females perch on an exposed branch with wings open or closed. They are courted by the males who approach from behind and slowly and elegantly settle into position.
Common Mormon Butterfly, Papilio polytes javanus - male "sucking nectar on the Zinnia flower"  Common Mormon,Geotagged,Indonesia,Papilio polytes,Summer


The common Mormon prefers lightly wooded country, but is present everywhere and high up into the hills. It is a regular visitor to gardens, being especially abundant in orchards of its food plants—oranges and limes. It is most common in the monsoon and post-monsoon months.
Common Mormon butterfly (female) These butterflies emerge in mid-springs in India, and are pretty tough to capture on camera as they are really swift. Like all butterflies they are shy and feed on honeysuckles that commonly grow in the forest. Common Mormon,Geotagged,India,Papilio polytes


The eggs are laid singly on top of the leaves. They are round and yellow to light-yellow in colour.
Common Mormon on Pentas flower This Mormon is happily having a meal!! Common Mormon,Papilio polytes


The larvae breed on various species of family Rutaceae including:
⤷  ''Aegle marmelos'' or bael
⤷  ''Atalantia racemosa''
⤷  ''Citrus'' spp.
⤷  ''Glycosmis arborea''
⤷  ''Murraya koenigii'' – curry leaf
⤷  ''Murraya paniculata''


Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

SpeciesP. polytes