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Emerald Swallowtail, or Banded Peacock Butterfly

Updated on November 10, 2014

Emerald Swallowtail resting on a rock


Information about the Banded Peacock or Emerald Swallowtail Butterfly

The Emerald Swallowtail is a very beautiful butterfly. The shimmering emerald color that often literally sparkles on the wings of this butterfly are simply stunning. When the light shines on the wings just right, you can see the emerald color sparkling like jewels. The Emerald Swallowtail goes by some other names, like Papilo palinurus, Burmese Banded Peacock, Moss Peacock, Green Moss Peacock and Princeps palinurus.

You can find these butterflies at some butterfly conservatories, but in nature they are found in Southeast Asia.

Papilio palinurus

Emerald Swallowtail Butterfly
Emerald Swallowtail Butterfly | Source

Where these butterflies live

South East Asia:
South East Asia

get directions

More details about the Emerald Swallowtail

The Emerald Swallowtail likes to fly high up in the forest canopy. This makes it difficult to observe naturally in its habitat. If you do get to see them in nature, or are in an area where they may be, try looking more for a "V" shaped green pattern fluttering up high. The emerald swallowtail may stand out more in this way.

The beautiful green color we see comes from two other colors mixed together which you can probably figure out if you just picture a color wheel. The two colors are yellow and blue, and together on the wings of this butterfly it produces a iridescence that is hard to ignore.

Butterflies have a lot of overlapping scales on their wings that make the patterns and colors we see. In this case, there is a yellow coloring at the bottom of very tiny wing scales, and then there is a blue that goes along the edge of each scale. This is what produces the green we see on these beauties.

Unique fact about the colors and scales of the Banded Peacock Butterfly

Something that really struck me was that this method of combining colors in this way, has been used to create the colors on televisions. The idea was patented way back for televisions, and may even be used now to help with anti counterfeiting measures on credit cards, traveler's checks and other bank notes. Isn't it amazing to think the idea started naturally on the wings of a butterfly? I just love nature, and these butterflies may just be one of my favorite.


Emerald Swallowtail or Banded Peacock Butterfly

Have you ever seen an emerald swallowtail or banded peacock butterfly?

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© 2010 Paula


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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Sylvia, I am so glad to share the information on this beautiful green butterfly. You are so lucky to have seen it in Zamboanga Philippines! I think that is wonderful that people are doing birdwatching like that, and get to see other beautiful wildlife also.

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment here. That photo is very beautiful! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the info! I just saw this butterfly in the wild last week while I was birdwatching in Zamboanga, the Philippines. It was high up, as you describe. I noticed it because the V-shape pattern was so distinct and brightly colored that it caught my eye.

      Here's my photo:

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you Alexandra, and I hear what you are saying, and I think I am understanding what you are saying. It could be seen as rather intimidating from such an innocent, natural and beautiful little creature (which is so ironic, no?)... coincidence? Maybe..but yes it does get you thinking, that is for sure! I appreciate your comment very much.

    • Sasha'sOnHubShell profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Wow, what an intriguing fact, I had to follow your links exploring how the pattern of the overlapping feathered design and color of the butterflies wings has been replicated as a design algorithm for media outlets.

      Don't you find that in some way intimidating in its coincidence? The whole butterfly effect theorem, and the evolution of telespcreen and telespeak, sorry, I mean "television and telephones"... In an Orwellian state of mind at the moment.

      I sure did enjoy this. Thanks so much for the beautiful images and index of great information! ~Alexandra


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