Papilio ophidicephalus

Emperor Swallowtail

Basic Information

General information

Family: “Papilionidae”
Sub Family: “Papilioninae”
Estimated Lifespan 19 Days

Garden Specific Information

Estimated Number In Flight: 7
Total Number of Pupae Received: 470
First Flown On: 10/17/05
Last Flown On: 01/20/23

Species Range:

  • “Africa”

Host plants:

  • Clausema inqequalis
  • Fagara capensis
  • Calodendron capense

Food Source

The Emperor Swallowtail is a nectar feeding species.


It can be found in rainforest and cloudforest habitats.

Life history

Eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the hostplant. Early instar larvae resemble bird droppings and later instar larvae are green and brown to blend in with the hostplant colors. The pupa are attached by a cremaster and a girdle to the plant.


There are multiple generations per year so this butterfly can be seen in flight year round.

Fun Facts

This is the largest butterfly in flight in southern Africa.