Swallowtails are striking butterflies and strong fast flyers. The large yellow and black wings have a protruding tail, resembling that of a swallow. With a wingspan of around 10 centimetres, they are the largest resident butterfly in the UK. Britain has its own race of swallowtails (Papilio machaon britannicus) that's only found in the fens and marshes of the Norfolk Broads. The European race (Papilio machaon gorganus) is quite common and is found all over Europe, Asia and even North America. Swallowtails brood once, twice or even three times in a year.
Scientific name: Papilio machaon
The following habitats are found across the Swallowtail distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) is a butterfly of the family Papilionidae. The butterfly is also known as the common yellow swallowtail or simply the swallowtail (a common name applied to all members of the family). It is the type species of the genus Papilio and occurs throughout the Palearctic region in Europe and Asia; it also occurs across North America, and thus, is not restricted to the Old World, despite the common name.
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