Pachliopta hector
Pachliopta hector

Pachliopta hector, the crimson rose, is a large swallowtail butterfly belonging to the genus Pachliopta (roses) of the red-bodied swallowtails. It is recorded as a species of "Least Concern (LC)" by IUCN.

Animal name origin

In common with other early naturalists Linnaeus followed the classical tradition. The name honours the Greek hero Hector.


The male's upperside is black. Forewing with a broad white interrupted band from the subcostal nervure opposite the origin of veins 10 and 11, extended obliquely to the tornus, and a second short pre-apical similar band; both bands composed of detached irregularly indented broad streaks in the interspaces. Hindwing with a distal posteriorly strongly curved series of seven crimson spots followed by a subterminal series of crimson lunules. Cilia black alternated with white. Underside: forewing dull brownish black, hindwing black; markings as on the upperside, but the crimson spots and crescent-shaped markings on the hindwing larger. Antennae, thorax and abdomen above at base, black; head and rest of the abdomen bright crimson; beneath: iho palpi, the sides of the thorax and abdomen crimson.

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The female is similar, the discal series of spots and subterminal lunules much duller, pale crimson irrorated (sprinkled) with black scales; in some specimens the anterior spots and lunules almost white barely tinged with crimson; abdomen above with the black colour extended further towards the apex.

No geographic races have been described.

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It is found in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and possibly the coast of western Myanmar.

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In India, it is found in the Western Ghats, southern India (Tamil Nadu, Kerala), eastern India (West Bengal and Odisha). It is a straggler in the Andaman Islands.

This butterfly is at home both in jungle and in open country. During the dry season, it will be found up to 8000 feet (2400 m) in South India, but it is found all the year round at lower elevations.

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Habits and Lifestyle

It is a very striking tailed butterfly with prominent white bands on its forewings. The crimson rose is very fond of flowers especially Lantana. Nectar appears to be essential for the butterfly and a higher nectar intake is thought to increase egg production.

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Close to the ground, the flight of the crimson rose is slow and fluttering but steady. At greater heights, it flies faster and stronger. It basks with its wings spread flat, sometimes in small congregations at heights of 10 to 15 metres up in the trees.

The butterfly often roosts for the night in large companies on the twigs and branches of trees and shrubs, sometimes accompanied by a few common Mormons. When resting the butterfly draws its forewings halfway between the hindwings. The butterfly sleeps on slanting outstretched branches or twigs of trees or bushes.

The most striking aspect of the butterfly's behaviour is its strong migratory tendencies. During the peak of its season, several thousand crimson roses can be found congregating and then they begin migrating to other areas.

In the Entomologist's Monthly Magazine, 1880, p. 276, Mr. R. S. Eaton notes that in Bombay this butterfly roosted in great numbers together, however Charles Thomas Bingham notes that in the Western Ghats between Vengurla and Belgaum, where the butterfly occurred in some numbers and had the habit of roosting in company on twigs of some thorny shrub, but never saw more than "a score or so together".

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Diet and Nutrition

Mating Habits

Higher numbers of them are seen from August to November and also from April to June. They breed up to seven times per year and it has been found to take only 39–47 days from egg to adult.


Population number

It is generally common and not known to be threatened. It is common all along the Western Ghats up to Maharashtra but rare in Gujarat. This species is protected by law in India.


1. Pachliopta hector Wikipedia article -
2. Pachliopta hector on The IUCN Red List site -

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