Dingy Swallowtail

Scientific Name: Papilio anactus

Other Common Names: Dainty Swallowtail, Small Citrus Butterfly

Species documented in by W.S. Macleay.


A small to medium size butterfly, mainly black and white with blue and red down the bottom quarter of the hindwing. Has yellow on the last half of the abdomen, and the buds of 'tails' on its hindwings.


Reported to be around September to late March.


P. Anactus is endemic to Australia, and is estimated to have evolved approximately 35 MYA (Zakharov et al, 2004). It is reported to be found in open woodlands, forests and gardens in QLD, but when found down south it is only found in gardens and could be described as an 'urban butterfly'. Indeed, it has reached South Australia, as reported by Collier et al (2006). CSIRO report this species to be found in all but Western Australia and Tasmania (CSIRO, 2008).


Various species of Rutacea (Zakharov et al, 2004) and is also reportedly found on cultivated citrus such as lemons, limes and grapefruit.


The dingy swallowtail is currently (2008) classed in the Eleppone subgenus, although much debate over the classification of this insect continues, and is presently somewhere "between the subgenera Heraclides and Chilasa" (Zakharov et al, 2004). Only used to be found up north but its range was expanded down south by cultivated citrus.

Found in:



Robert Fisher, A field guide to Australian butterflies, Surrey Beatty & Sons PTY Limited

EVGUENI V. ZAKHAROV,1 MICHAEL S. CATERINO,2 AND FELIX A. H. SPERLING1,Molecular Phylogeny, Historical Biogeography, and Divergence Time Estimates for Swallowtail Butterflies of the Genus Papilio (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae), Journal of Systematic Biology, Volume 53. 2004. pp 193--215.

N. COLLIER,1* D. A. MACKAY,1 K. BENKENDORFF,1 A. D. AUSTIN2 AND S. M. CARTHEW3, Butterfly communities in South Australian urban reserves: Estimating abundance and diversity using the Pollard walk, Journal of Austral Ecology. Volume 31, 2006. pp282-290.

CSIRO Entomology, Australian Insect Common Names, Available from: http://www.ento.csiro.au/aicn/name_s/b_3060.htm