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| Last Updated:: 29/04/2022

State Butterfly: Malabar banded peacock


State Butterfly : Malabar banded peacock (Buddha Mayoori)














                      Malabar Banded Peacock is one of the most dazzling butterflies' in the world and also rated as the third most beautiful butterfly in India. Its flight is extremely swift; possibly swifter than that of any other Peacock butterflies. It is a true favourite of the butterfly collectors. This Swallowtail butterfly is endemic to the Western Ghats and is found essentially between southern Goa and northern Kerala. The scientific name of this butterfly is Papilio buddha Westwood which denotes the three names in sequence, representing the genus, species and the author, respectively (Blyth, 1982).


Classification: Classification is useful to identify and differentiate one species from another. To begin with, all animals are classified under the kingdom called Animalia and subsequently, “jointed-legged” animals are grouped in the phylum called Arthropoda. To distinguish insects from animals, there is a further categorisation of Arthropoda into a class called Insecta and an order called Lepidoptera, and Swallowtail butterflies are grouped into the family called Papilionidae. This family has the least number of species (700) in the world (4% of butterflies, globally). Malabar Banded Peacock belongs to this family (S. Ali, 2004., Kunte, 2000). The Malabar Banded Peacock is classified thus;


  • Kingdom - Animalia
  • Phylum - Arthropoda (“jointed-legged” animals)
  • Class - Insecta (insects)
  • Order - Lepidoptera (“scaly-winged” insects)
  • Family - Papilionidae (Swallowtails)
  • Genus - Papilio Species - buddha
  • English Name - Malabar Banded Peacock


 Colouration: The peripheral of its wing is black with a central blue band. Depending upon the angle of incident light, the wings show variegated shades. The underside of the wings is black. The male and female are alike in colouration. The wingspan varies from 90-100 mm.


Life cycle: The life cycle has four stages, viz. egg, larva, pupa and adult.


The Egg stage: The egg is laid on a tender shoot or on the upper side of a mature leaf. It is spherical and plain lemon yellow in colour when laid. Later, it develops with a rusty-brown coloured band at the centre.


Threats to butterflies: (i) Illegal export of butterflies for ornamental purposes (ii) Habitat destruction, and degradation (iii) Grazing and fires.


Conservation measures: Conservation implies ‘protection against extinction'. Conservation measures include the protection of forest and grassy banks from encroachment, and creating butterfly parks and gardens through planting butterfly larval host plants. In urban areas, gardens with larval host (eg: Zanthoxylum rhetsa ) and adult nectar plants (eg: Lantana and Clerodendrum paniculatum ) can attract many butterflies. This procedure can also be implemented in the home gardens to attract butterflies (S. Ali, 2004)



1. Krushnamegh Kunte (2000) India-A Lifescape Butterflies of Peninsular India . University Press (India) Limited, Hyderabad. Page – 78-80.

2. M.A. Wynter-Blyth (1982) Butterflies of the Indian Region . Today and Tomorrow's Printers and Publishers, New Delhi. Page – 390.

3. Sameer Ali (2004)