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Papilio dardanus

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Description

Origin : Central African Republic

Size : M


one wing lenght cm 4.5-5.5.Papilio dardanus Brown, 1776, is a butterfly belonging to the Papilionidae family, widespread in Sub Saharan Africa (Afrotropical ecozone).
The habitat is the tropical and sub-tropical forest. The species has strictly diurnal habits. The adults can be found all year round in the tropics.
The wingspan varies between 90 and 108 mm. In general the tone of the wings presenting various shades, curtains light ocher.
The caterpillars are growing on the leaves of several species of Rutaceae.
In the female, t is possible encounter two distinct forms: a non-mimetic, very similar to the male appearance and size, and a mimetic form, markedly polymorphic, typical of Batesian mimetism. So while the male form and instead maintains nearly constant color in every habitats, the female of Papilio dardanus can have both a non-mimetic form similar to the male (andromorphic), that another characterized by a strong mimetic polymorphism, arriving to take up to sixteen different phenotypes. This enormous variability, described for the first time by Roland Trimen in 1869, is due to a single gene locus, which may have at least eleven different alleles, giving life to a classic example of pleiotropy in which the effects of incomplete dominance between alleles are somewhat complex and diversified.
The female can mimic very closely the form and coloring of various species of butterflies from the repulsive flavor (for example some Danaidae as Amauris echeria, Amauris niavius ​​and Danaus chrysippus, or Heliconiidae as Acraea poggei), so taking an evolutionary advantage by that the possible predators tend to avoid it, considering it not palatable.
The evolution of all these forms is considered an example of disruptive selection, while their co-existence, in dynamic equilibrium with the non-mimetic form, is explained by the fact that, although the latter does not take evolutionary advantages against predators, however, it is favored by males when mating.
Such a type of Batesian mimetism exclusively limited to the female, is not a unique even within the genus Papilio, as the case dell'asian Papilio memnon.
Subspecies:
Papilio dardanus dardanus
Papilio dardanus antinorii
Papilio dardanus byatti
Papilio dardanus cenea
Papilio dardanus figinii
Papilio dardanus flavicornis
Papilio dardanus humbloti
Papilio dardanus meriones
Papilio dardanus meseres
Papilio dardanus ochraceana
Papilio dardanus polytrophus
Synonyms: Papilio boosi, Papilio cenea, Papilio cephonius, Papilio trophonius, Papilio westermannii.



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