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Athrophaneura Semperi

In: Science

Submitted By teenah
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“I embrace emerging experience. I participate in discovery. I am a butterfly.

I am not a butterfly collector. I want the experience of the butterfly.” -William Stafford

With the rise of knowledge about endangered species and diminishing protected ecology, it is becoming essential to study and get involved with this very tragic trend in our environment.

Butterflies are one of the many insects that require attention.

Despite of their usefulness, conservation of butterflies in our country is seemingly neglected

This research aims to focus in Atrophaneura semperi. A butterfly species, considered endemic in the Philippines. (…)

Not only has my huge interest in butterflies led me to pursuing this topic but also a certain curiosity about this specific species and how widely spread it is in the Philippines and all over the world. I would like to discuss its importance, the reproductive cycle, and the protection programs offered for their specific case, as I go through the next chapters of this study.

Data generated could be used for species monitoring, biogeography, conservation program and creation of database information of butterflies in the Philippines as economic development and climate change progresses.


Some researchers theorize that butterflies most likely originated in the Cretaceous period when the continents were arrayed differently from their present positions and with climates unlike those of today. The earliest known butterfly fossils are from the mid Eocene epoch, 40-50 million years ago. (Lamas, 2008)

Butterfly fossils are rare. The earliest butterfly fossils are from the early Cretaceous period, about 130 million years ago. Their development is closely linked to the evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms) since both adult butterflies and caterpillars feed on flowering plants, and the adults are important pollinators of many flowering plants. Flowering plants also evolved during the Cretaceous period. (

There are between 15,000 and 20,000 species of butterflies worldwide. And some of these species are now endangered because the delicate balance of nature is destroyed – as it has been in so many natural places – the butterfly is almost always one of the first to disappear. (

Butterflies are indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems. (

Areas rich in butterflies are rich in other invertebrates. They collectively provide a wide range of environmental benefits, including pollination and natural pest control. Butterflies play an important role in the food chain. They serve as food for birds, bats and other insectivorous animals. Moreover, butterflies had been widely used by ecologists as model organisms to study the impact of habitat loss, fragmentation and climate change. (


• Kingdom: ANIMALIA


• Class: INSECTA


• Suborder: DITRYSIA

• Superfamily: PAPILIONOIDEA





• Specific name: SEMPERI


It is multicellular: various tissue and organ systems are constructed to provide the specializations needed for day to day survival.


- With segmented body covered by exoskeleton made from CHITIN and other chemicals.

- *CHITIN- most important biopolymers in nature. In insects, it functions as scaffold material supporting the cuticles of the epidermis.


- It has 2 pairs of wings

- 3 pairs of jointed leg

- Tri-segmented bodies

- A pair of antennae

- Bilateral symmetry


- Characterized by more than three derived features, some of the most apparent being the scales covering their bodies, wings, and proboscis.

- The scales are modified flattened “hairs” and give their butterflies their extraordinary variety of colors and patterns. Lepidos is Greek for "scales" and ptera means "wing". These scaled wings are different from the wings of any other insects. Lepidoptera is a very large group.


- They are so named because the female has two distinct sexual openings: one for mating, and the other for laying eggs.


- Papilionoidea (from the genus Papilio, meaning "butterfly")


-Vernacular Names: The Swallowtail Butterflies, swallowtails

*All swallowtail caterpillars possess a forked, eversible organ behind the head known as an osmeterium. The osmeterium secretes a foul-smelling terpene-based defensive compound (Eisner and Meinwald 1965). When molested, a caterpillar will evert its osmeterium and rear its head back in an attempt to dissuade its antagonist. The specific composition of osmeterial secretions may vary between swallowtail species.

*- The second anal vein (vein 2A) on the adult forewing extends to the wing margin and does not converge with the first anal vein (vein 1A). In all other butterfly families veins 1A and 2A fuse, and 2A does not reach the wing margin.

*The cervical sclerites join beneath the neck.


-Papilioninae occurs worldwide with most of the species being found in the tropics.

-active and fairly strong fliers, prefer sunny warm weather, and spend a lot of time in search of flowers from which to feed. They appear to be especially fond of red and blue flowers. While feeding at flowers they characteristically flutter their wings as if in constant readiness to fly off at the first sign of danger.

Also noticeable, when they are feeding, are their long, spindly legs, which create the impression that they are hovering in mid-air above the flower from which they are sipping nectar.


GENUS: Atrophaneura

- Members of the Genus Athrophaneura are uneatable because their larvae live on toxic plants and accumulate the poison in body. They are also called batwings or wind mills.

Their eggs are simple. The larvae resemble that of troidini. They have fleshy-spire-like tubercles, often with red tips.They have bodies that are dark red to brown and velvety black or shades of gray with a pattern of black lines.They feed on Aristolochia and Tholthea.


The word simper is a Latin word that means “always” or “ever”.


Atrophaneura semperi is a butterfly. They are beautiful, flying insects with large scaly wings. Like all insects, they have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax (the chest), and abdomen (the tail end).

Its body is covered by tiny sensory hairs. The four wings and the six legs of it are attached to the thorax. The thorax contains the muscles that make the legs and wings move.

Atrophaneura semperi use their senses of sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste to survive in the world, find food and mates, lay eggs in an appropriate place, migrate, and avoid hungry predators. Caterpillars can sense touch, taste, smell, sound, and light.


The vision of Atrophaneura semperi changes radically in their different stages of life.


Caterpillars: A caterpillar's "fuzz" gives it its sense of touch.


The tiny antennae, which are near the mouth parts, sense smells.

A butterfly's antennae, palps, legs, and many other parts of the body are studded with sense receptors that are used to smell. The sense of smell is used for finding food (usually flower nectar), and for finding mates (the female smelling the male's pheromones).

Their feet have sense organs that can taste the sugar in nectar, letting the butterfly know if something is good to eat or not. Some females also taste host plants (using organs on their legs) in order to find appropriate places to lay their eggs.

These receptors (called chemoreceptor) are nerve cells on the body's surface which react to certain chemicals.


Caterpillars startle at loud noises.

Butterflies hear sounds through their wings.


The wingspan is 12–15 cm. The wings are black. The body has red hairs. The underside of the hind wings contains some red markings. Females are dark-brown with light pink markings on the upside of the wings

Sex differences: The female covers the upper range of the wing-span. The basic color of the female is brown. The veins are black. The hind wings have salmon spots on their upside.

[pic] [pic]



- Caterpillars can barely see at all. They have simple eyes (ocelli) which can only differentiate dark from light; they cannot form an image. They are composed of photoreceptors (light-sensitive cells) and pigments. Most caterpillars have a semi-circular ring of six ocelli on each side of the head.

Butterflies (like many other adult insects) have compound eyes and simple eyes. These eyes are made up of many hexagonal lens/corneas which focus light from each part of the insect's field of view onto a rhabdome (the equivalent of our retina). An optic nerve then carries this information to the insect's brain. They see very differently from us; they can see ultraviolet rays (which are invisible to us).


-Long hairs that grow through holes all over their hard exoskeleton. These hairs are attached to nerve cells, and relay information about the touch to the insect's brain.

- (sensory hairs) on the insect's entire body (including the antennae) can feel the environment. They also give the insect information about the wind while it is flying.


(Small mouth parts that are under the mandibles) have taste cells; these chemical detectors tell the caterpillar to eat when the food is appropriate, and not to eat when the food is not appropriate.


-is an organ at the base of a butterfly's antennae. This organ is responsible for maintaining the butterfly's sense of balance and orientation, especially during flight

ABDOMINAL PROLEGS Abdominal prolegs are the peg-like legs on the abdomen (hind region) of a caterpillar. These legs have crochets (small hooks) on them. These legs disappear in the adult butterfly. ANAL PROLEGS Anal prolegs are a pair of stumpy legs at the very end of a caterpillar's abdomen (hind region). These legs have crochets (small grasping hooks) on them. ANDROCONIA Androconia (also called scent scales) are modified wing scales on butterflies and moths that release pheromones. Only males have these scent scales. The pheromones attract females of that species.

Antennae (singular antenna) are sensory appendages attached to the head of some adult insects. Antennae are used for the sense of smell and balance. Butterflies have two segmented antennae with a small club at the end of each.. Larvae (caterpillars) have tiny sensory antennae. [pic] [pic]

Image Source:

"Butterfly: internal anatomy of male butterfly." Online Art. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 20 Nov. 2007.

Along with its proboscis, a long, straw-like tube used for drinking, many of a butterfly's sensory organs are on its head. These include:

• Compound eyes, which are good at detecting color and nearby movement

• Moveable, segmented antennae, which have organs for detecting smells at the tips and structures for sensing the butterfly's direction and position at the base

• Labial palps at the base of the mouth parts, which help the butterfly decide what is and isn't food.


The abdomen is the segmented tail area of an insect (including butterflies). An insect's abdomen contains its heart, Malpighian tubules, reproductive organs, and most of the digestive system (foregut, hindgut and rectum). It is protected by an exoskeleton. The abdomen of butterflies has eleven segments.
-Terminal orifice of the digestive tract enabling ejection of fecal matter.
-Portion of the intestine in front of the rectum.
COPULATORY BURSA -Pouch in which sperm accumulates before entering the seminal receptacle.

CROP -Large bulge at the back of the esophagus; it can dilate to receive food.
DORSAL BLOODVESSEL -Canal through which the blood circulates; It is located on the central line of the back of the insect.
-Canal in the anterior part of the digestive tract; it carries food to the crop.
-Muscular organ helping blood to circulate.

-Portion of the digestive tract extending from the crop to the anus.
-Fine tubes appended to the intestine and helping in the excretion process
-Opening allowing copulation by the male butterfly and entry of sperm into the copulatory bursa.
-Female genital gland producing the eggs.
-Canal through which the eggs are expelled from the ovaries.
-Terminal part of the intestine located between the colon and the anus.
-Organ located in the buccal cavity; it secretes saliva and enables especially the digestion of food.
Pouch where sperm is stored for fertilizing the eggs.
Atrophaneura semperi reproduce the way other animals do -- sperm from a male fertilizes eggs from a female.
Reproduction in butterflies begins with courtship, during which the male vigorously flaps its wings, releasing a dust of microscopic scales carrying pheromones above the female's antennae. These male pheromones act as a sexual stimulant to the female. Some males release additional pheromones from "hair pencils" under the abdomen.
.Males and females of the same species recognize one another by the size, color, shape and vein structure of the wings, all of which are species specific. They also recognize each other through pheromones, or scents.
During mating, males use clasping organs on their abdomens to grasp females.
Many male butterflies deliver more than just sperm to their mates.
Most provide a spermatophore, a package of sperm and nutrients the female needs to produce and lay eggs. Some males collect specific nutrients to produce a better spermatophore in an attempt to attract a mate. Some females, however, don't have a choice -- in some species, males mate with females before they have left their chrysalis or swarm the chrysalis waiting for the female to appear. In most species, males and females look a lot a like, but females often have larger abdomens for carrying their eggs.
Females store the sperm in a sac called a bursa until she's ready to lay her eggs. She fertilizes her eggs as she lays them, using the last sperm she received first. For this reason, males of some species will leave a substance that dries into a film on the female's abdomen in an effort to keep her from mating with other males. Females lay their eggs one at a time or in batches of hundreds depending on their species. A butterfly's life has four stages. It starts as an egg, typically attached to the underside of a leaf. The egg hatches into the butterfly's larval form -- the caterpillar. The caterpillar molts (loses its old skin) many times as it grows. Caterpillars spend most of their time eating leaves using strong mandibles (jaws). Their first meal, however, is their own eggshell. Their job is to consume enough food to sustain itself during its transformation into a butterfly. This transformation takes place in the butterfly's pupal stage, when the butterfly is inside its chrysalis. This is a resting stage. Finally, a beautiful, flying adult emerges. There is no growth during this stage. This adult will continue the cycle and reproduce. [pic] Male Female

While the larval butterfly was built for eating, the adult is built for mating


Geographic Distribution of Atrophaneura semperi
This world map shows the ecozones in which this butterfly is distributed. [pic]
Butterflies are found all over the world and in all types of environments: hot and cold, dry and moist, at sea level and high in the mountains. Most butterfly species, however, are found in tropical areas, especially tropical rainforests.
Many butterflies migrate in order to avoid adverse environmental conditions (like cold weather). Butterfly migration is not well understood. Most migrate relatively short distances (like the Painted Lady, the Red Admiral, and the Common Buckeye), but a few (like some Monarchs) migrate thousands of miles. (

THREATS 1. NATURAL THREATS A butterfly has to take special care when laying eggs. The eggs must be kept warm and at the right humidity level. Too much moisture and the egg will rot or be attacked by fungus. Too little and the egg will dry out. Caterpillars also need to start eating as soon as they hatch, so most of the time the female places the eggs directly onto a type of plant that the caterpillar will eat. Typically, the eggs attach to the underside of a leaf, so they are hidden from predators. A few butterfly species use predators' nests, such as anthills, as protection, disguising their eggs with the pheromones the predators use to recognize each other. In spite of all the effort female butterflies make to protect their eggs, very few make it to adulthood. Ants, birds and other animals can eat the eggs themselves, and caterpillars and butterflies are a popular snack for everything from birds to bats. Some insects also lurk in or around flowers to prey on adult butterflies. A butterfly's chrysalis also has few defenses from predators. And, at all stages of life, a butterfly can succumb to fungi and diseases. But natural predators aren't the only threats to butterflies' survival. Parasitic wasps are another threat to butterflies. A parasitic wasp will lay its eggs in a caterpillar -- the eggs hatch, killing the caterpillar, and wasp larva feed on the caterpillars' body. 2. MANMADE THREATS Illegal logging in the protected Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which houses part of the monarch's over wintering grounds, threatens the butterflies' survival. Without lots of trees in their over wintering grounds, monarchs have no place to hibernate or begin the next generation of butterflies.
Habitat loss is a serious threat to other butterfly populations, and not just in over wintering grounds. Urbanization and development can quickly destroy the plants where caterpillars eat and butterflies lay their eggs. In addition, some people view caterpillars as pests, especially when they destroy the foliage on carefully cultivated plants. For this reason, some people kill the caterpillars in their garden, preventing them from growing into butterflies.
Although butterflies are clearly not big-game species, human hunting has had an effect on their population. Some species are highly prized by collectors, and over-collecting has caused a sharp decline in their population. For example, several swallowtail species are on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species list in part because of over collecting.
Pesticides are another major butterfly threat -- adult butterflies are extremely sensitive to them. But keeping pesticides away from butterflies' food sources is easier said than done. Wind can carry pesticides far from their point of origin, contaminating butterflies' habitats. For this reason, people who want to encourage butterflies to live in their yards and gardens should rely on natural forms of pest control, such as encouraging the presence of pest-eating insects CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION PROGRAM Fortunately, butterflies can live and grow in greenhouses and other indoor locations as long as they have food, water and the right plants. This makes it possible for nature centers and other facilities to care for butterflies and educate people, as well as to try to preserve some butterfly species. However, in spite of such efforts, habitat loss and pesticide use will continue to threaten butterflies worldwide


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