Glass dome Papilio zalmoxis
6 x Zalmoxis under glass dome
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SPECIES : Papilio zalmoxis
Papilio zalmoxis, the giant blue swallowtail, is an African butterfly belonging to the family Papilionidae. The name of the species is given in honor of Zalmoxis – a divinity of the Getae (a people of the lower Danube), mentioned by Herodotus in his Histories IV, 93–96.
Papilio zalmoxis has a wingspan reaching about 12–16 centimetres (4.7–6.3 in) and it is the second largest African swallowtail. The colour of the upperside of the wings is usually blue but can be greenish, contrasting with the light-gray color of the underside of the wings. Previously thought to produce the blue colour by Tyndall scattering, the scales of Papilio zalmoxis are not nanostructured for incoherent scattering, instead the blue is a fluorescent pigmentary colour.
Papilio zalmoxis is an African butterfly, living in tropical areas (Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zaire, Ivory Coast).
GENUS : Papilio
It includes the common yellow swallowtail (Papilio machaon), which is widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as the western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus). Familiar species elsewhere in the world include the Mormons (Papilio polytes, Papilio polymnestor, Papilio memnon, and Papilio deiphobus) in Asia, the orchard and Ulysses swallowtails in Australia (Papilio aegeus, Papilio ulysses, respectively) and the citrus swallowtail of Africa (Papilio demodocus).
FAMILY : Papilionidae
Swallowtail butterflies are large, colorful butterflies in the family Papilionidae, and include over 550 species. Though the majority are tropical, members of the family inhabit every continent except Antarctica. The family includes the largest butterflies in the world, the birdwing butterflies of the genus Ornithoptera.
The forked appearance in some of the swallowtails’ hindwings, which can be seen when the butterfly is resting with its wings spread, gave rise to the common name swallowtail.
ORDER : Lepidoptera
Well-known groups of Lepidoptera include plume moths, hawk-moths, loopers, swift-moths, skippers, butterflies, tiger moths, grass moths, clearwing moths, clothes moths and burnet moths. Worldwide there are around 160,000 known species in 120 families; in Britain there are about 2,570 species in 72 families.