Ceylon rose (Atrophaneura jophon jophon)

Synonyms: Pachliopta jophon jophon
GenusAtrophaneura (1)
SizeWingspan: 100-130 mm (2)

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

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).

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).

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

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

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).

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

  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