Common Mormon (Papilio polytes)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Papilionidae (pap-ill-lee-ON-ih-dee) (Info)
Genus: Papilio (pap-ILL-ee-oh) (Info)
Species: polytes

Members' Notes:

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positive
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RatingContent
Positive

On Mar 20, 2008, debnes_dfw_tx from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Another beautiful swallowtail which flits from Australia, Southern Asia and all islands in between. The caterpillars of this species feed on plants from citrus (or Rutaceae).

The common name is an allusion to the polygamy formerly practiced by members of the Mormon sect according to Harish Gaonkar, of the Natural History Museum in London
The origins of giving common English names to organisms, particularly butterflies for tropical species started in India around the mid 19th century ... The naming of Mormons evolved slowly. I think the first to get such a name was the Common Mormon (Papilio polytes), because it had three different females, a fact that could only have been observed in the field, and this they did in India. The name obviously reflected the ... Mormon... read more