The Common Windmill Atrophaneura polyeuctes is the most common member in India of the Windmills group of Atrophaneura, comprising tailed black swallowtail butterflies with white spots and red submarginal crescents.
Accordingly it has been dealt with in more detail than the other windmills.
- Length 110 to 140mm.
- Sexes alike.
- Black and white above with prominent swallowtail.
- Red bodied. Tail has a red tip.
- FW completely black above and below.
- HW crenulated deeply twice on each side of swallowtail. Large oblong white discal spot in 5 (both UP and UN) and sometimes in 4. UPH has irregular marginal red crescents in 1a, 2 and 3 and a small white spot in 4.
- Atrophaneura philoxenus Gray is considered a synonym.
- A species Atrophaneura lama (Oberthür), described from western China, is regarded as a subspecies of A. polyeuctes by some.
It has five subspecies, two of which occur in India :-
- Atrophaneura polyeuctes polyeuctes Doubleday. Sikkim to Myanmar. Common.
- Atrophaneura polyeuctes philoxenus Gray. Kashmir to Nepal. Not rare.
- The three common species of windmills can be recognised by the differences in shape, number and location of white spots.
- Rose Windmill, Atrophaneura latreillei, has a white discal band in 2, 3, 4 beyond the cell which is clearly trifurcated by black veins. A slightly smaller butterfly, the Rose Windmill has rose coloured lunules.
- Great Windmill, Atrophaneura dasarada, has a number of two white spots in 4, 5 on UPH and three spots on 4, 5 and 6 on UNH. It is a slightly larger butterfly with broader swallowtail.
- Other windmills are smaller, rarer and have small differentiating characters from the above three common windmills. See the individual articles for more information :-
This butterfly prefers forests and woods. Frequents river valleys. It occurs at low elevations (1000 to 5000 feet) in North East India but is found at higher altitudes in the western extent of its range - up to 11,000 feet in Kashmir.
This butterfly has a leisurely flight high above, but is easily recognisable by the thin long fore and hindwings. It is attracted to flowers and visits Clemanthe, Buddleia, Lantana and Rhododendron blossoms.
It is mimicked by a day flying moth Epicopa (or Epicopia) polydorus, which flies at the same period and over the same range as the Common Windmill and has much the same manner and habits.
Has several broods where it finds suitable climate. Seen on the wing between April and September. The imago has a foul odour.
- Family Nepentheceae.
- Nepenthes spp.
- Family Aristolochiaceae.
- Aristolochia griffithi.
- Aristolochia shimadai.
- List of butterflies of India
- List of butterflies of India (Papilionidae)
- Collins, N.M. & Morris, M.G. (1985) Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World. IUCN. ISBN 2-88032-603-6 pdf
- Evans, W.H. (1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies. (2nd Ed), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India
- Haribal, Meena (1994) Butterflies of Sikkim Himalaya and their Natural History.
- Wynter-Blyth, M.A. (1957) Butterflies of the Indian Region, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.