Where in the Philippines is that female ledebouria from?
Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Female form romulus, right? I am sad to admit that I have forgotten some of the names.... The female form that resemble the male - form cyrus? - is the absolutely most common female form in Palawan. Form romulus is normally only encountered during the two peaks of the rainy season (August and late October), when it is making up about 30-40% of the female forms.
Actually female form romulus only occurs where Pachliopta hector is found, as it mimics that species. This is the oldest valid name for the mainland subspecies of Papilio polytes from India to SE Asia and the Malay Peninsula. Where Pachliopta hector is not found there are only two female forms, stichius which mimics Pachliopta aristolochiae; and the much rarer male-like form cyrus which is a double recessive gene, like form butlerianus of Papilio memnon agenor.
Your Palawan butterfly probably actually belongs to a separate species, Papilio alphenor, and the subspecies is ledebouria as in most of the rest of the Philippine islands. This subspecies has three female forms as well, and not all occur everywhere in the range of the subspecies. The form with a white discal spot on the hindwing (actually not present in Palawan), similar to the common form of Papilio polytes romulus is called form praxilla, and the form you have in Palawan (as in the photo above) is similar but without a white patch on the hindwing. This is called form elyros, and is generally rarer in the 'main' islands of the Philippines.
The male-like form is called horsfieldi. It is interesting to hear that this form is the commonest in Palawan, as elsewhere it is relatively rare. It seems strange that form elyros only occurs at certain times of year, maybe this form is recessive with respect to the male-like form.
Adam, thanks for putting some correct names on the forms! I never had any literature available, so obviously I didn't know the real names for these forms. It would be so great with a book on the pretty vast butterfly fauna of the Philippine islands.
I have always referred this species as Papilio alphenor ledebouria. The male-like female form horsfieldii is about the same size as males. However, during the first part of the rainy season, from mid June and August, the female form horsfieldii is often much larger than normal - up to 50% larger actually. Curiously, this seems roughly to coincide with the main time of appearance of form elyros. Maybe a logical explanation to form horsfieldii being dominant is that there are no "red-colored" models in Palawan, which makes sense to mimic. Pachliopta aristolochiae is not found there and Pachliopta antiphus brevicauda and Pachliopta atropos are both over-all black, as is Atrophaneura semperi melanotus. Losaria neptunus dacasini could be a model, but it is very local, so probably not a practical model. The absolutely most common Papilio memnon lowi female form is the very dark form suffusus. The white female form zephyria is mostly seasonal (rainy season) and normally makes up only a certain percentage. Black seem to be a rather dominant color in a number of Palawan species/subspecies.
I guess the photo was taken in Palawan, rather than in Sweden where you are now. However, if you do get livestock of this I would really like some pupae to experiment on the breeding compatability with local Papilio polytes. It would be interesting to see if they mate naturally when placed in the same cage, and whether natural or hand paired hybrids are fully fertile or not.
I recently tried putting virgin females of Papilio demodocus in a cage with males of Papilio demoleus. The males flew up to the females and examined them but did not try to mate, obviously recognising that they are a different species. I haven't tried hand pairing them yet though.