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Red Helen or Papilio helenus

Red Helen (Papilio helenus) is the third largest butterfly in the state. It is mostly seen in the evergreen jungles of heavy rainfall areas in the western ghats and belongs to the Swallowtail family.

The upper side of Red Helen is blackish brown. The forewings have indistinct golden yellow scales. The hind wings have large, prominent creamy white disc like patch and a series of indistinct, crimson coloured crescent markings. The underside has more clear crescents. The wingspan is 110-130mm.

This large, black-bodied butterfly with a prominent tail is a powerful flyer. Red Helens are frequent visitors to gardens and are very fond of drinking from flowers as well as from dead animal matter.

Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, China and Indonesia are some places where Red Helens are found.