Ceylon rose (Atrophaneura jophon jophon)

Ceylon rose butterfly
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Ceylon rose fact file

Ceylon rose description

GenusAtrophaneura (1)

The Ceylon rose is a beautiful and extremely rare swallowtail butterfly found only in Sri Lanka. It is black and white in colour with pink spots (3). In both sexes, the black velvety abdomen is tipped with bright crimson. In males, the forewings are narrower than in females, and there is less white colouration. The pink and white marks on the hindwings are also smaller than in females (3).

Pachliopta jophon jophon.
Wingspan: 100-130 mm (2)

Ceylon rose biology

Little is known of the life-cycle of this species.


Ceylon rose range

This rare butterfly is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is found in the south-west (4). The current strong-hold is the Sinharajah Forest Reserve and the hills around Balangoda and Morapitiya (3). There is much uncertainty as to the status of this species and there are no data on population trends (5).


Ceylon rose habitat

Restricted to tropical evergreen rainforest at medium elevations (4) below 2000 feet (3). This species flies during the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low. It takes nectar from flowers in clearings, along footpaths and beside roads. At other times of the day it remains within the forest and is rarely seen (3).


Ceylon rose status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR B1+2ac) by the IUCN Red List 2003 (1).


Ceylon rose threats

The main threats facing this species are thought to include deforestation as a result of timber extraction and conversion to agriculture (5).


Ceylon rose conservation

The Ceylon rose occurs in the Sinharaja Biosphere Reserve, and so receives a level of protection. Collecting specimens is strictly forbidden in the reserve, and is a punishable offence. The collection of this species for sale is banned in Sri Lanka. This butterfly was recently considered for listing on Appendix II of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which would control international trade in the species. However, it was felt that international trade in the species is not a great problem, and that habitat management and protection should be the priority. Listing the species in Appendix II could even encourage trade, as it will draw attention to the rarity of the species and increase the price of specimens (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

Michael and Nancy van der Poorten in Gehan' s Guide to the Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies of Sri Lanka by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne.

Sri Lankan Insects.



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk


In arthropods (crustaceans, insects and arachnids) the abdomen is the hind region of the body, which is usually segmented to a degree (but not visibly in most spiders). In crustacea (e.g. crabs) some of the limbs attach to the abdomen; in insects the limbs are attached to the thorax (the part of the body nearest to the head) and not the abdomen. In vertebrates the abdomen is the part of the body that contains the internal organs (except the heart and lungs).
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.


  1. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003 (March 2004): http://www.redlist.org
  2. Michael and Nancy van der Poorten in Gehan' s Guide to the Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies of Sri Lanka by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne: http://www.jetwingeco.com
  3. Sri Lankan Insects. (March 2004): http://www.srilankaninsects.net/Butterflies/Papilionidae/CeylonRose/CeylonRose.htm
  4. CITES- consideration of proposals for amendment of Appendices I and II (March 2004): http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/12/prop/E12-P40.pdf
  5. Inclusion of swallowtail butterflies Atrophaneura jophon and A. pandiyana in Appendix II. Proponent: Germany (on behalf of the member states of the EC) TRAFFIC (March 2004): http://www.iucn.org/webfiles/doc/SSC/CoP12/Analyses/1240.pdf

Image credit

Ceylon rose butterfly  
Ceylon rose butterfly

© Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne

Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
155 Model Farm Road
Colombo 8
Sri Lanka


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