Papilio memnon agenor

Linnaeus 1758 - The Great Mormon

Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan.

One of the largest butterflies to be seen on the Island.

A very interesting species as the female can be found in many different forms (hence the English name of Mormon!), some of which have tails. Forms seen on the Island are f. distantianus (a tailed form, and the commonest on Samui), f.agenor, f. butlerianus and f. esperi. The females each mimic another species of the Papilionidae, and normally, this model species is found in the same area as the mimic. As usual, Koh Samui likes to do things differently. The model for f. distantianus is Pachliopta coon, which has not been found on the islands. Likewise, the model for f. esperi is Atrophaneura nox, and that of f. agenor is Atrophaneura zaleucus (neither on Samui or Pha Ngan). The only form, where its model is found on Samui (not yet on Pha Ngan), is f. butlerianus, which has as its model Atrophaneura varuna.

This was originally a forest species, but it has been able to change its habits taking advantage of the cultivation of its preferred foodplants, Citrus sp., particularly the Pomelo, and now can be commonly found all over the Island.

Flight Period



110 - 135mm

Early Stages

Fully known. More detailed life history information is available from the following resource: ButterflyCircle Blog (courtesy of Dr. Horace Tan).

Larval Foodplant

Citrus sp. (Rutaceae)


Nepal, Indo-China, Thailand and Malaysia. (Other subspecies are to be found India to the Southern Islands of Japan, also Borneo, Sumatra and Java.)