Habitat[ edit ] Once found primarily close to wooded country where there is a fairly heavy rainfall, the tailed jay is now very common at low elevations and regularly seen in gardens and urban areas due to its food plant, Polyalthia longifolia false ashoka or mast tree , being widely used as an ornamental tree. Behaviour[ edit ] Strong and restless fliers, they are very active butterflies and flutter their wings constantly even when at flowers. They are seldom seen drinking from damp patches. The males are particularly fond of nectaring from flowers such as Lantana , Ixora , Mussaenda , and Poinsettia. The females are more likely caught when looking for food plants or laying eggs.
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Most of the Oriental and Australasian species are characterised by the presence of a pattern of translucent green, turquoise or yellowish "windows" in their wings. There are a few however such as aristeus from New Guinea and the Oriental species euphrates which are predominantly white, marked with vertical black stripes.
Arguably the most beautiful and unusual of all is weiskei from Papua, a tailed species patterned with vivid pink and green on a dark brown ground colour.
Several Graphium species such as the African policenes have very long sword-like tails. Some of the Oriental species e. Graphium agamemnon is one of the most widespread species in the genus, being found from India and Sri Lanka to Hong Kong, and through the archipelago to Papua New Guinea, Queensland and the Solomon Islands. Habitats This species is found in open habitats including forest clearings, riverbanks and beach hinterlands, at elevations between sea level and about metres.
Lifecycle The smooth, spherical, pale green eggs are laid singly on the upperside of young leaves of sapling trees in the family Annonaceae. Caterpillars have also been found on Michelia Magnoliaceae and Cinnamomum Lauraceae. When young the caterpillar is ochreous-brown, with a white saddle on the rear segments. The anal segment and each of the thoracic segments is adorned with a pair of short multi-branches spines.
Throughout its life the caterpillar habitually rests on the upperside of a leaf, along the midrib, and feeds by nibbling large chunks from the tip of the leaf, while leaving the midrib intact. The mature caterpillar is plump, mid green in colour, with small suffused blotches of darker green. The spines by this stage are much reduced, becoming nothing more than a set of tiny black spikes.
The chrysalis is pale green or light brown, with a brown-tipped thoracic horn. It is attached by the cremaster and a silken girdle to the underside of a leaf. Adult behaviour Graphium species are generally more robust than their relatives in Papilio and have a stronger and more purposeful flight.
In common with other Graphium species, agamemnon males adopt a filter-feeding technique, sucking up water through their proboscises, pumping it out through the anus, and then re-imbibing it. This enables them to extract dissolved minerals, and prevents them from becoming dehydrated in the tropical heat. Both sexes commonly nectar at Lantana. Prior to mating both sexes can often be seen circling around the tops of flowering trees, using these as assembly points where courtship takes place.
After mating, males visit damp sand and gravel to replenish essential minerals lost during sperm transfer.
Graphium Agamemnon (Malaysia) ♂︎