The Dainty Swallowtail, Papilio anactus, is apparently the smallest of our swallowtail butterflies but it is still quite large – much bigger than the Crow, Common Eggfly or Chocolate Soldier that I think of as ‘normal’ butterfly size.
Its closest relations,* other members of the genus Papilio, include the Orchard, Fuscous, Chequered and the magnificent electric-blue Ulysses (sad pic) Swallowtails. But ‘Swallowtails’ is a family (Papilionidae) which includes other genera and therefore includes the biggest of all our butterflies, the Cairns Birdwing, the smaller Clearwing Swallowtail and a few others (see them all here). Several of them look similar enough to be confused for one another – in particular, the female Orchard, the Clearwing and the Dainty.
I caught this one feeding on a shrub in the carpark at the top of Castle Hill a couple of days ago, having gone up there for the second time in a week. The first time I went up was for a photo of Queens Gardens from above, which I wanted for a photographic competition (wish me luck!), but I saw lots of insects and had to return for more. Some of them are on Flickr already. e.g. bee-fly, bigger bee-fly, bee-eating wasp, black and gold wasp.
I don’t know any of them from my own garden, which of course is why it was worth going back. Then again, the micro-habitat on top of a huge granite outcrop is vastly different from a well-watered suburban garden.
* This section edited for completeness a day after first posting.