Atrophaneura alcinous has a wingspan reaching about 9–10 centimetres (3.5–3.9 in). The basic colour of the wings is black or dark-brown.The hind wings have long tails and a chain of red spots at the edges. The thorax and the abdomen are mainly black on the upperside and the underside, with several black spots, while the other areas are red. Adults are on wing from May to August in two generations.
The larvae feed on Aristolochia mandshhuriensis, Aristolochia debilis and Aristolochia manchuriensis. Subspecies has been recorded on Aristolochia shimadai, Aristolochia liukiuensis, Aristolochia kankauensis, Aristolochia elegans, Aristolochia debilis, Aristolochia kaempferii, Aristolochia onoei, Aristolochia tagala, Cocculus trilobus and Metaplexis chinensis. The species overwinters as a pupa.
This species can be found in the Asian part of the Palaearctic ecozone and partially in the Australasia ecozone and in the Indomalaya ecozone, from Bhutan, and eastern China to the southern Ussuri region, Korea and Japan.
Atrophaneura alcinous is present in mixed broadleaved forests.
- Atrophaneura alcinous alcinous
- Atrophaneura alcinous confusus (Rothschild, 1895) (Ussuri)
- Atrophaneura alcinous yakushimana (Esaki & Umeno, 1929) (Japan)
- Atrophaneura alcinous loochooana (Rothschild, 1896) (Japan)
- Atrophaneura alcinous miyakoensis (Omoto, 1960) (Japan)
- Atrophaneura alcinous bradanus (Fruhstorfer, 1908) (Japan)
- Atrophaneura alcinous mansonensis (Fruhstorfer, 1901) (south-central and south-eastern China, Taiwan) 
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