Male Common Mormon Butterfly

Male Common Mormon Butterfly
Male Common Mormon Butterfly

Here is a male Common Mormon (Papilio polytes) butterfly which was resting at night on Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) leaf. I was not able to focus the butterfly at all as it was very dark. I used a 8 LED torch held in my left hand to focus and shoot with Canon EOS 5D mark II using Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro with Canon MT-24EX macro twin light flash from right hand. As the butterfly was perched high on the tree this was a great acrobatic task.

The Common Mormon Papilio polytes is a common species of swallowtail butterfly widely distributed across Asia. This butterfly is known for the mimicry displayed by the numerous forms of its females which mimic inedible Red-bodied Swallowtails, such as the Common Rose and the Crimson Rose. The male are monomorphic dark-coloured swallow-tailed butterfly. The upper fore wing has a series of white spots decreasing in size towards the apex. The upper hind wing has a complete discal band of elongated white spots. It may or may not have marginal red crescents. The males are smaller in size than the females.

The female of the Common Mormon is polymorphic. In South Asia, it has three forms or morphs.
Female form romulus is similar to the male, differing in that it always has strongly marked red crescents. It is the least common of the three forms. It is normally abundant where the Common Rose or Crimson Rose do not occur, such as in Himachal Pradesh around Shimla; although a few specimens of form romulus have also been caught alongside.

Form stichius of the Common Mormon mimics the Common Rose very closely. This is the commonest form wherever the Common Rose flies.

Form romulus mimics the Crimson Rose and is common over its range. It is not such a close mimic as the previous form being duller than its model, the Crimson Rose. It is easy to differentiate the mimics from models by the colour of their body – the models are red-bodied and the mimics are black-bodied.

Common Mormon in Sepia
Common Mormon in Sepia

Here is the same mormon shot converted to Sepia tone in Adobe lightroom.

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