UAE Butterfly diary 1- Papilio demoleus

Papilio demoleus is a common and widespread swallowtail butterfly. It has common names of lime butterfly, lemon butterfly, lime swallowtail and chequered swallowtail. These names refer to the host plant which are usually citrus, mainly cultivated lime. Aside from it’s beauty, this butterfly is considered a pest and an invasive species found from Asia to Australia.

In Oman it is only found in the northern region and in the UAE. I’ve been hunting for this for a while and caught my first glimpse last November at a petrol station near the Rustaq oasis just north of Muscat. The butterfly fluttered over the car and off into the desert before I could turn my camera on.

I never saw another one in Oman, despite much looking.

Imagine my surprise this past weekend, when I was wandering along a beach on the East coast of the UAE, close to Dibba, at low tide looking for one my favourite shells that seems only to be found on the East coast at a couple of beaches, when I caught a flash of black, white and red and an exhausted Lime butterfly fluttered down onto the sand in front of me. I managed to creep up and get some close-up shots.

A delight to see…