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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

17 Dragontail Butterfly Facts You’ll Never Forget

These dragontail butterfly facts will help you know more about the swallowtail family.

The green dragontail butterfly (Lamproptera meges) is an elusive species of butterfly that belongs to the family of swallowtail butterflies and is generally found in the vegetative parts of Asia such as north India and north-east India. These butterflies are also found in the Australian country cum continent. Generally speaking, there are two types of dragontail butterflies which are the white dragontail butterfly (Lamproptera curius) and the green dragontail butterfly (Lamproptera meges). These butterflies source their common names from their generic coloring patterns along with the characteristically long tails that closely resemble the hind of a dragonfly. Being one of the most elusive species of butterflies and is divided into subspecies all over the world, the green dragontail butterfly continues to be of immense interest to butterfly enthusiasts as well as ecologists, all over the world.

However, despite this interest, not much information has been gathered about the dragontail butterfly. Keep reading and learning to find out some more interesting facts about the mysterious green dragontail butterfly (Lamproptera meges). Afterward, do check our other articles on the monarch butterfly and the morpho butterfly.

Dragon Tail Butterfly Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dragontail butterfly?

The green dragontail butterfly (scientific name Lamproptera meges) is an insect that belongs to the biological phylum of Arthropoda. The dragontail butterfly is very rare in the world despite having many varieties. The green dragontail butterfly is a subspecies of the swallowtail butterfly which is native to southeast Asia.

What class of animal does a dragontail butterfly belong to?

The green dragontail butterfly (scientific name Lamproptera meges) belongs to the biological class of insect. Both the Lamproptera meges, as well as the Lamproptera curius, are part of the swallowtail butterfly species in the life cycle.

How many dragontail butterflies are there in the world?

There is only enough information to know that the population of this species is not yet a threatened one with respect to its conservation status in most parts of the world but in peninsular Malaysia, the green dragontail butterfly is considered to be a protected species with slightly dwindling numbers. Java is mainly famous for Lamproptera.

Where does a dragontail butterfly live?

The dragontail butterfly distribution range features rainforest ecosystems across India, Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra, and Sulawesi. Dragontail butterflies are extremely beautiful creatures from the order Lepidoptera and can be found in many regions of southeast Asia.

What is a dragontail butterfly's habitat?

The dragontail butterfly prefers vegetative habitats with flowers for their nectar and comprising their host plants of preference such as the Illigera burmanica which is part of the Hernandiaceae family and Zanthoxylum phylum. The range distribution of dragontail butterflies spans across southeast Asia. These butterflies prefer living near flowing water bodies.

Who do dragontail butterflies live with?

Dragontail butterflies live by themselves in either group of twos or threes as they flutter around from one plant to the other for their lifespan of seven to ten days.

How long does a dragontail butterfly live?

A yellow dragontail butterfly generally has an expected life span of about seven to ten days as an adult before which it passes through the natural stages of metamorphosis, starting as an egg larva and ending as an adult butterfly in leaf.

How do they reproduce?

Dragontail butterflies reproduce on the basis of their subjective aesthetic wherein if a male is able to spot a female that is of his species and resembles his coloring patterns, he will physically pursue her and attempt to woo her using his pheromones. Butterflies have also been known to engage in dances to capture the attention of females and entice them to mate with the male. Having wooed the female, the male and female will stick to each other along the length of their bodies which is when the male releases sperm into the female. The female's dragontail butterfly larvae are protected by her partner.

What is their conservation status?

Even though no specific data is available for the global or even regional population of the dragontail butterfly, this species is not considered to be in threat of becoming endangered except for in very few regions of the world such as peninsular Malaysia where it is believed to be a protected species. Its present identification in terms of conservation status is Not Evaluated.  

Dragontail Butterfly Fun Facts

What do dragontail butterflies look like?

The dragontail butterfly is quite small compared to its relatives in its biological order as well as in its own swallowtail species. The distinctive characteristic of the dragontail butterfly is, as the name suggests, its long tail that closely resembles the hind of a dragonfly. The tail itself measures roughly 0.98-1.57 in (2.5-4.0 cm) long which is just short of its wingspan. Its wings are typically triangular with a coloring scheme of black and white and black borders along the boundaries or edges of its wings. The wings are compartmentalized by black lines and light green bands along with the wings through the wing fold right till the end of its tail (in the Lamproptera meges or the more common, green dragontail butterfly). In the white dragontail butterfly, these green-colored pale bands are replaced with a white-colored pale band. Males and females are usually distinguished on the basis of the vibrance of their colors with males being brighter to look at.

A dragontail butterfly identification is done by their colorful bands along the wings.

How cute are they?

Dragontail butterflies are extremely pretty to look and with the added rarity of the species, there is a certain amount of intrigue upon being able to see one.

How do they communicate?

Dragontails make use of bodily chemicals to communicate and such communication is usually for the purpose of mating wherein the male makes use of his pheromones to entice the female dragontail butterfly.

How big is a dragontail butterfly?

Both the green dragontail butterfly and white dragontail butterflies usually only measure about 1.6-2.2 in (4.0-5.5 cm). The tail which is, by itself, about 0.98-1.57 in (2.5-4.0 cm) long, almost as long as its wingspan.

How fast can a dragontail butterfly fly?

Dragontail butterflies are fast in-flight owing to their whirring flight pattern. Though their wings are small in proportion to their body, a dragontail butterfly's flying ability comes from the capability to vibrate these wings at high speeds and use its tail as a rudder to change direction, altitude, or modulate its speed per its will.

How much does a dragontail butterfly weigh?

The insects from order Lepidoptera are extremely lightweight creatures that can fly around at great speeds. Their exact weight is not known yet as it may vary between individuals.

What are their male and female names of the species?

No specific designation is allotted to the members of Lamproptera meges or the Lamproptera curius species based on their sex. Generally, male butterflies are referred to as a male dragontail butterfly, while females are referred to as a female dragontail butterfly.

What would you call a baby dragontail butterfly?

Since a dragontail butterfly follows the lifecycle of other butterflies, it starts off as an egg that is green and round, much like the eggs of other swallowtail species. Once it hatches out of its egg, the dragontail butterfly is now a caterpillar. The caterpillar transitions into its larval stage, then pupal stage and ultimately, it emerges as an adult dragontail butterfly. Their larva stages are varying in numbers.  

What do they eat?

The dragontail butterfly generally eats Illigera burmanica, king of the Hernandiaceae family, and other host plants that belong to the genus of Zanthoxylum.

Are they poisonous?

No, the Lamproptera meges or the Lamproptera curius is not a poisonous insect. On the contrary, the swallowtail species as a whole are innocuous in nature, mostly keeping to themselves.

Would they make a good pet?

Keeping a butterfly as a pet would not be the best idea since they are flight insects and have an extremely short adult lifespan which only lasts for about a week to 10 days.

Did you know...

Male dragontail butterflies generally die after mating with a female dragontail butterfly.

Male dragontails suck up a lot of water from which the dissolved minerals are filtered and the water is removed from the anus in the form of squirts.

Some other interesting butterflies include the red admiral butterfly, painted lady butterfly, and the monarch butterfly.

How did dragontail butterflies get their names?

The name of the dragontail butterfly is generally attributed to its long tail which bears a close resemblance to the dragonfly. However, their name was also a result of the similarity between its flight pattern and style which involves rapid vibration of their relatively small wings and making use of its tail to stop, change direction, or altitude, exactly like dragonflies do.

What is the difference between a dragontail butterfly and a regular butterfly?

Dragonflies are categorized under Odonata whereas butterflies and moths have a common order of Lepidoptera. Other than this, both share the same characteristics and features of a butterfly with a little variation in their color and features.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other butterflies from our purple emperor butterfly facts and viceroy butterfly facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable butterfly coloring pages.

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