Latin name: Papilio machaon
size: 6.5 - 8.5cm
Appearance: white-yellow, black, blue and red
Sexual dimorphism: No
food: Plant nectar
distribution: Asia, Europe, North Africa, North America
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Grasslands and meadows
natural enemies: insectivorous birds
sexual maturity: enters the butterfly with the completed development
mating season: three generations per year (May, July and September)
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the swallowtail
- The swallowtail or Papilio machaon describes a butterfly species, which is counted among the Knight butterflies.
- It is located in much of Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America.
- The swallowtail inhabits dry and warm areas, mountain slopes, sunny meadows, forest edges and grasslands. It is found in the lowlands as well as at altitudes of up to 2500 meters.
- He is unmistakable for his bright yellow wings with eye-catching black spots and veins.
- The hind wings are lined by a blue-black band, show an orange-blue and round spot and a tail-like tail, this butterfly owes its name.
- With a wingspan of up to nine centimeters, the Swallowtail is considered the largest butterfly in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
- The swallowtail feeds mainly on the nectar of red clover, but also that of the dandelion, the phlox, the lilac and various thistles.
- The caterpillars, whose appearance changes with each molt, emerge from the eggs that the swallowtail places close to the bottom of the leaves of a chosen fodder plant.
- At the beginning, the caterpillars are dark and show a white spot on the back. Thus they look bird droppings confusingly similar and are thus well protected against predators. In addition, her whole body is covered with thorns.
- After about a month, the caterpillars are mature and take on an increasingly green coloration with black horizontal stripes. The thorns disappear and develop at the beginning to reddish points.
- The most important fodder plants of the caterpillars include fennel, parsnip and carrot, small beaver shrubs and similar Umbelliferae.
- The adult caterpillars pupate and then weave themselves with silk threads. From the dolls, which are first green and then brown, the finished moths hatch after three weeks or after the winter next spring.
- In Central Europe, the first generation flies in the spring to early summer, two more generations follow in July and September.
- In Central Europe, the swallowtail is one of the endangered species of butterflies today.