| || || Chandra, Visheshni.|
| || || A study on habitat, biology and behaviour of papilio schmeltzii herrich-schaffer|
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Call No.: Pac QL 561 .P2 C53 2010
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: The swallowtail butterfly, Papilio schmeltzii, is endemic to the Fiji Islands and generally occurs in low density but there are some areas of higher local density such as Sigatoka and Koro Island. P. schmeltzii adults were found throughout the year but with dry and wet seasonal variation. High abundance was recorded for all the P. schmeltzii stages during the dry season (May to September). P. schmeltzii mainly occupies isolated forest edges and gardens near forested areas with a strong affinity for running water. At least two larval host plants were found to sustain populations of P. schmeltzii, Micromelum minutum and Citrus reticulata. All the immature stages of P. schmeltzii were located in shady areas and were usually found on M. minutum plants less than two metres high in field and in cage. Female P. schmeltzii laid eggs singly on the young foliage of M. minutum and usually on the lower surface in shaded areas. Activities such as chasing, feeding, oviposition and copulation of adult P. schmeltzii were diurnal and mostly high in the mornings and evenings. P. schmeltzii mainly utilized Stachytarpheta urticifolia plant species as nectar source. Direct predation was observed on the P. schmeltzii larva by a hemipteran bug that sucked fluid out of the larva’s body at Vatukarasa study site. P. schmeltzii was reared in a simply designed cage to observe its complete life cycle. Eggs of P. schmeltzii hatched 5 to 6 days (28 °C – 32.9 °C) following oviposition and were almost spherical, smooth and yellow in colour when laid, later changing to orange and then before hatching, black. P. schmeltzii had five larval instars and were found on top of the larval host plant leaves in shady areas. Probably for protection, the first four instars resembled bird droppings and the final instar has two colour variations (uniform green and tiger stripe) for the purposes of camouflage. The period of the larval stages ranged from 18 to 32 days (24.7 °C – 32.9 °C). Furthermore, P. schmeltzii pupae also had two colour variations (green and brown) that depended on its surrounding area. The prepupal stage lasted for 1.8 to 2 days and the pupal stages lasted for 15 to 20 days (24.7 °C – 30.6 °C). Majority of P. schmeltzii pupated on its larval host plant and emerged from the pupa stage before 9 am.