One early morning, I chanced upon these little black caterpillars munching on the leaves of my Aristolochia grandiflora (Dutchman's Pipe). As the cats were particularly striking, I refrained from whipping out my sears and insect repellants. A few days later, the cats got bigger and bigger and eventually, they started to form a chrysalis. At the time, I still did not know what sort of butterfly it would become and in any case, my knowledge of butterflies in general is very limited. About a week later, one of the butterflies emerged from its pupa and it was simply beautiful. I looked up the internet immediately in a bid to identify it but before I found a match, a friend of mine who saw the photos I posted on facebook commented that this was the Common Rose butterfly. I looked it up on the internet and viola! He was right!
The Common Rose (Atrophaneura (Pachliopta) aristolochiae) is a swallowtail butterfly belonging to the Pachliopta subgenus, the Roses, of the genus Atrophaneura or Red-bodied Swallowtails. It is a common butterfly which is extensively distributed across South and South East Asia. That said, it is not that common in Singapore because it feeds mostly on Aristolochia and we do not have a lot of them growing in Singapore, and certainly not in the wild. I'm still amazed how it managed to track down the plant at my place.