Papilio dardanus

19x19x6cm frame


Papilio dardanus, or the Mocker Swallowtail, is one of the most fascinating examples of Batesian mimicry in the world. This butterfly, found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, is unmistakeable in its male form (as displayed here). Its female form, however, is highly varied and has at least 14 different varieties or morphs.


Some female morphs share a very similar pattern of colouration with various species of distasteful butterfly (e.g. from the Danainae, a subfamily of nymphalids), while others have been found that mimic male appearance (andromorphs). The persistence of these various morphs or different types of females may be explained by frequency dependent selection. It is suggested that Batesian mimics gain a fitness advantage by avoiding predators, but suffer harassment from, whereas andromorphs (male mimics) are vulnerable to predation but are not harassed by male mating attempts.


A very illuminating visualisation of this phenomenon can be found here:


This butterfly has been prepared in the UK to museum standards and is displayed in a deep handmade shadowbox frame, mounted on white conservation-grade foam. The back of the frame is covered in really special Italian decorative paper, with a brass hook for hanging it on the wall (but it also stands perfectly on a mantlepiece or a table). It is completely sealed inside the frame and will last for generations.

Papilio dardanus

SKU: 1919008