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The butterfly is tailless and has a wingspan 80–100 mm.:52 Above, the background colour is black. A broad, irregular yellow band is found on the wings above, which is broken in the case of the forewing. Besides this the butterfly has a large number of irregular spots on the wing. The upper hindwing has a red tornal spot with blue edging around it.
Papilio demoleus is an aggressive and very common butterfly. It is perhaps the most widely distributed swallowtail in the world. The butterfly can be found in: Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Iran, western and possibly eastern Afghanistan, and western Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India (including the Andamans), Nepal, Burma, Thailand, the Philippines, Kampuchea, southern China (including Hainan, Guangdong province), Taiwan, Japan (rare strays), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sula, Talaud, Flores, Alor and Sumba), Papua New Guinea, Australia (including Lord Howe's island), apparently Hawaii and possibly other Pacific Ocean islands.