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Troides darsius

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Title: Troides darsius  
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Subject: Troides riedeli, Troides plato, Troides haliphron, Troides criton, Troides
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Troides darsius

Sri Lankan Birdwing
Troides darsius female
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae
Genus: Troides
Species: T. darsius
Binomial name
Troides darsius
(Gray, 1852)

The Sri Lankan Birdwing (Troides darsius) is a species of birdwing butterfly found in Sri Lanka.

Among the largest and most gaudy of the Ceylon Lepidoptera is the great black and yellow butterfly (Ornithoptera darsius, Gray); the upper wings, of which measure six inches across, are of deep velvet black, the lower, ornamented by large particles of satiny yellow, through which the sunlight passes, and few insects can compare with it in beauty, as it hovers over the flowers of the heliotrope, which furnish the favourite food of the perfect fly, although the caterpillar feeds on the aristolochia and the betel leaf and suspends its chrysalis from its drooping tendrils.[1]

Troides darsius is the National Butterfly of Sri Lanka.

as Pompeoptera Darsius in Robert Henry Fernando Rippon Icones Ornithopterorum


For terms see External morphology of Lepidoptera.

From Troides helena cerberus it differs as follows:

Male forewing : 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.

Female : Differs from cerberus female 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.

Wing expanse of 165–175 mm.

Plate from Frederic Moore The Lepidoptera of Ceylon showing male and female imagines, larva and pupa

Life cycle


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.)


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.)


The primary habitat is thinly wooded mountain forests from sea-level up to an elevation of 2,000 metres . Occasionally observed in gardens but generally rare in lowlands.


Troides darsius is threatened by deforestation.

Related species

Troides darsius is a member of the Troides haliphron species group. The members of this clade are


  • Bingham, C. T. (1907) Fauna of British India. Butterflies. Vol 2.
  • Collins, N.M. & Morris, M.G. (1985) Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World. IUCN. ISBN 2-88032-603-6 pdf
  • D'Abrera, B. (1975) Birdwing Butterflies of the World. Country Life Books, London.
  • Haugum, J. & Low, A.M. 1978-1985. A Monograph of the Birdwing Butterflies. 2 volumes. Scandinavian Press, Klampenborg; 663 pp.
  • Kurt Rumbucher and Oliver Schäffler, 2004 Part 19, Papilionidae X. Troides III. in Erich Bauer and Thomas Frankenbach Eds. Butterflies of the World. Keltern : Goecke & Evers ISBN 978-3-937783-02-4

External links

  • Online guide to Butterflies of Sri Lanka Images of the adult and life stages, descriptions
  • Images from Naturhistorisches Museum Wien(English/German)
  • ARKive Photos. More information.
  • Nagypal
  • Sri Lanka Montane Rain Forests Ecoregion
  • Sri Lanka Lowland Rain Forests Ecoregion
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