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Citrus Swallowtail

Citrus Swallowtail
Photo Information
Copyright: Pam Russell (coasties) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3749 W: 483 N: 8155] (28054)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-12-09
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 100-400mm L IS USM, Digital RAW 200, Hoya UV 77mm
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-12-09 5:00
Viewed: 4083
Points: 51
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Citrus Swallowtail (Papilio demodocus)

Distribution: All over Africa
Habitat: Everywhere
Difference in Sex: Very similar
Diet: Rutaceae plant species and Citrus trees
Enemies: Parasitic Wasps

This species is known as the Citrus Swallowtail (or Lime Swallowtail) as its caterpillars feed of various plants in the citrus family. It can be a pest to citrus orchards. It has a distinct black and yellow scale pattern, especially around the base of the front wings. The hind wings each have a distinctive bright red spot and lacks the tails that give the swallowtail family their name.

Pest status: The citrus swallowtail is widespread in Namibia and found in most gardens and fields. It does not cause economical damage to fully grown trees but is known to damage young seedlings in the nursery.

Description: The eggs are laid singly on the citrus leaves. They are about one millimeter in dimameter and white. The young caterpillar has spikes and a pattern of brown, black and white coulouring that makes it look like a birds dropping. it grows to 1-1.5 cm before changing into the green type of caterpillar. The older caterpillar grows to a size of 3-4 cm and changes colour to green with white or pinkish markings. There are also eye markings on the front part. When the caterpillar is disturbed or scared, it sends out two orange "antennae" that are intended to scare away enemies. These "antennae" also emits a bad smell. They are withdrawn again once the scare is over. When the caterpillar comes to maturity, it fastens itself to a citrus branch and slowly change into a pupae. The butterfly may emerge after a week or so, depending on the temperature and humidity. The butterfly is a large swallowtail with black and yellow markings and red/blue eye spots on the hindwings. It flies all year round in gardens and fields and frequents flowers or lays eggs on citrus trees. During flight it looks more yellow than black.


Camera: Canon 20D
Time of day: 9:48 a.m.
Date: 9th December 2006
Weather conditions: Inside Tropical Butterfly House
Lens: Canon 100-400mm L IS
Filter: Hoya 77mm UV
Shutter Speed: 1/60
F-Stop: F/6.3
Focal Length: 400mm
ISO: 200
Support: Hand Held
Original file type: Digital Raw

metcher, mikou, horia, anel, dew77, uleko, vanderschelden, phlr, ramthakur, Juyona, peter_stoeckl, Pentaxfriend, manyee, TAZ, fiyo, RAP, Silvio2006, cedryk has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi, Pam.
Very beautiful butterfly in good pose. Tack sharp, with excellent exposure. Details on wings are amazing. I like also composition and BG.

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2006-12-09 5:30]

Hi Pam.
Very nice composition with hereof splendid butterfly.I like POV and perfect details on wing.Also colours are amazing.
Great work.
TFS and regards.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-12-09 5:44]

Hi Pam

A charming shot of this superb butterfly!
The colors on its wings are fantastic - so many and so well saturated.
Also the details and textures are great and very sharp and teh DOF and POV are excellent.
Lovely composition and framing as well.

Bravo, TFS and have a great weekend!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2006-12-09 5:58]

Hi Pam,
Perfect shot of this Citrus-Swallowtale, which I didn't know until now. What a beautiful creature! Nice background too.
Best regards


Lovely colors,
neat butterfly,
great framing


  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-12-09 6:40]

Hello Pam,
Magnificent swallowtail close up.Clear details,lighting,dark BG,sharpness and composition are wonderful.Have a great weekend!

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-12-09 7:25]

Excellente prise,l'arrière plant fait bien ressortir les superbe couleurs du papillon.La netteté rt l'éclairage sont extras.

Merci Pam!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2006-12-09 7:41]

Hi Pam,
Beautiful composition portraying this lovely butterfly very clearly in a nice pose. Great colours and the background is great except for the antennaes which nearly disappear, but it can't be helped.
TFS and regard, Ulla

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2006-12-09 7:42]

Hello Pam,
a well captured swallowtail female. Nice colours and outlines contrasting against the dark background. Well chosen point of view. Nice to see how the butterfly adheres to the leaf edges by its legs.
Best wishes, Peter

Hi Pam. Brilliant capture! Fabulous wing detail with folds and ridges etc. The dark BG loses antennae detail a tad but thats a minor groan. Great pic! Well done!!

hi pam,
this is a lovely shot of my fav shooting subject,
beautiflu shot,
well composed, fine pov,
sharpness is excellent, details are captured well,
dark bg compliments the shot very well,
well done,
tfs & regards

Hi Pam,
Good shot; great compo and colors.
Well done

Bonjour Pam,
Belle prise de vue, avec de splendides couleurs sur fond unicolor.C'est du beau travail.

wow awesome macro shot, great color and DOF, beautiful butterfly! TFS
Donna :o)

thanks for your comment on my photo "December Storm -3 " :o)

Hi Pam,
a very interesting species, in Europe we have the Papilio machaon, very seemed and as beautiful as this. Composed very well. Greetings

This wonderful image is fresh from the oven, as it were, Pam.
Images like this make this site worth its while.
It is a beauty!

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2006-12-09 18:55]

Hola Pam, maravillosa y exquisita foto, colorido y composicion, excelentes, buen trabajo... TFS, saludos

Hello Pam,
distinctly three-dimensional, and almost shining in the dark: a perfectly well composed image with razor sharp details, well saturated colours, clear self-assertive contrasts in front of a dark background of very subtle greens makes this African lemon loving beauty from out of "everywhere" appear on stage like a diva.
Thank you! With best regards,

Hi Pam,

Exellent shot
SUPERB sharp detailsm colours, compo, POV and DOF
nicely framed

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-12-10 3:27]

Wow, Pam...
The colors and details on this swallowtail are superb.
They really pop out in crisp lines and good saturation.
Perfect POV and beautiful BG.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-12-11 1:29]

Hello Pam,
Lovely capture for this wonderful species. The butterfly stands out from the neutral BG. Exposure, sharpness and DOF are excellent. I like the shape of the leaf like a flame. As usual an useful note.
Congratulations my friend and TFS.

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2006-12-11 3:11]

Hello Pam,
amazing close up; sharpness, colors, light, composition, everything is excellent ! TFS

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2006-12-11 6:30]

Excelente compo Pam con el ángulo ideal para presentar esta mariposa sobre su percha.
Me gusta la agudeza alcanzada y el OOF del fondo de la escena, gracias a una correcta profundidad, con intensos colores y detalles muy marcados en las alas del animal.
Un gran saludo... Ricardo

Excellent compo Pam with the ideal angle to present this butterfly on their hanger.
I like the reached sharpness and OOF of the bottom of the scene, due to a correct depth, with intense colors and very marked details in the wings of the animal.
Best greetings... Ricardo

Hi Pam, wonderful butterfly, lovely composition, optimal focus, splendid sharpness, wonderful colors, well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
  • [2006-12-12 21:08]

Hello Pam,
Interesting member of Papilio genus, I've never seen before. Similar to our native swallowtails.
Excellent composition and DOF!
Best greetings,

Hi Pam,
that's a perfect shot of this beauty.
I love to see the design of the wonderful wings, all the colours and the perfect sharpness, thanks and greetings
Sabine - wishnugaruda

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