The life cycle of a Papilio xuthus is defined by four stages; ovum (egg), larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), imago (adult) (Smart 1985). Under certain conditions, such as unusual climatic conditions, the cycle can be delayed or arrested, but the typical life cycle lasts about one year (Smart 1985). The survivalPupa of Papilio xuthus rate of the eggs laid is typically one or two out of every hundred laid. Although butterflies are more commonly seen than any other morphological stage, they are the rarest of the phases of the life history (Schappert 2000).
    During the adult butterfly phase of the cycle, mating takes place. The males are the more active and initiate sex, often patrolling and defending their territory looking for possible mates (Preston-Marham 1999). Sexual communication between butterflies is more complicated than one might initially believe. A P. xuthus is only able to successfully mate with another P. xuthus, therefore, sexual stimuli and responses must only attract members of the same species (Spordoni et al. 1984). Although it has been studied more recently, courtship between males and females is still poorly understood and extremely complicated. Mates must look, feel, and smell right to each other before initiating of mating can take place (Preston-Marham 1999). Behavioral, physiological, and biochemical mechanisms are all used to help make the decision Side view of P. xuthus(Spordoni et al. 1984). The chief sexual stimuli for P. xuthus is the transverse yellow bands on a black background that decorate the wings (Spordoni et al. 1984). 
    Once both mates have accepted one another, the process itself takes about an hour on average (Spordoni et al. 1984). Sex is a complicated process of moves and counter moves done by both males and females, but when completed, a batch of fertilized egg is formed in the female (Preston-Marham 1999). When the time comes for the eggs to be laid, the female searches for a suitable leaf to lay them on, landing briefly on several plants and using sight, smell, and taste to find the perfect one (Preston-Marham 1999). The process of selecting a leaf to deposit eggs is a great deal more complicated than one might first believe. An interesting study was done on oviposition (the process of laying eggs) stimulants and what determines where a P. xuthus lays her eggs.Egg of Papilio xuthus butterfly There are several different types of chemoreceptors on the forelegs of males and females, and five different chemicals which are able to stimulate those receptors. The leaf chosen must trigger a certain combination of receptors on the individual P. xuthus (Ryuda et al. 2013). The large and simple round eggs sit on leaves and resemble to feces of birds (Wagner 2005). When the time comes for the egg to hatch, the larva eats its way out of the shell and begins to aggressively consume its host plant and grow in size. After a time of eating and growth, the larva chooses a site and molts itself into a pupa (Smart 1985). The mature P. xuthus will emerge from the pupa as a black and yellow colored-butterfly (Miller et al. 2004).

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