The function of this species colouration is still unclear. Nowadays we know that the colours of butterflies can have multiple functions. Often they represent a real identity card, thanks to which individuals can easily recognise who belongs to their own species, with which they can reproduce: most species have a unique colour to avoid ‘misunderstandings’ that could lead to mating with different species. This does not happen for this Papilio, since it coexists with other species that exhibit the same pattern. When a colouration is shared by several species, as in this case, it must have a protective function as well. This happens for poisonous species that share the same warning colours. We still don’t know how this colouration is an advantage for the species that share it; perhaps this is another case of elusive mimicry typical of fast species which are difficult to catch.

origin: East Africa