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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Papilio \Pa*pil"i*o\, peop. n. [L., a butterfly.] (Zo["o]l.) A genus of butterflies.

Note: Formerly it included numerous species which are now placed in other genera. By many writers it is now restricted to the swallow-tailed butterflies, like Papilio polyxenes, syn. Papilio asterias, and related species.


Papilio is a genus in the swallowtail butterfly family, Papilionidae, as well as the only representative of the tribePapilionini. The word papilio is Latin for butterfly.

The genus includes a number of well-known North American species such as the western tiger swallowtail ( Papilio rutulus). Familiar species in Asia include the mormons ( Papilio polytes, Papilio polymnestor, Papilio memnon, and Papilio deiphobus), the orchard and Ulysses swallowtails in Australia ( Papilio aegeus, Papilio ulysses, respectively) and the citrus swallowtail of Africa ( Papilio demodocus).

Older classifications of the swallowtails tended to use a large number of rather small genera. More recent classifications have been more conservative, and as a result a number of former genera are now absorbed within Papilio. The genus as recognized by modern systems has about 200 members. The genus Chilasa is regarded as a subgenus of Papilio by some workers, as are the baggy-tailed swallowtails (Agehana), although the latter taxon is usually considered a subgenus of Chilasa.

Many of the larvae resemble bird droppings during a development stage. Adults are edible to birds and some species are mimics.

Now included in the genus Papilio, are the former genera: Achillides, Eleppone, Druryia, Heraclides (giant swallowtails), Menelaides, Princeps, Pterourus (tiger swallowtails), and Sinoprinceps.

Usage examples of "papilio".

I could talk long about how certain species of Lepidoptera--moths and butterflies--like Papilio Machaon and P.

Malinin, whom they took for a Papilio Machaon, which had come here, by some miracle, all the way from the remote Ussuri region.