The Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) is a butterfly. It is also called the Sail Swallowtail or the Pear-Tree Swallowtail. It is not scarce. It is quite common and widespread across Europe, except northern Europe. However, it is a protected species in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia.
The Scarce Swallowtail is creamy-white to pale-yellow. On its front wings, there are 6 dark-coloured tiger stripes and wedge-shaped markings. On the outer edges of its hind wings (back wings), there are blue crescent markings with an oblong orange spot at the back corner of its long tail.
It measures 6-8 centimetres (2.5 – 3 inches) across.
The Scarce Swallowtail ranges from the United Kingdom to central Poland. It is also seen in Pakistan, India, and western China. It prefers parks and gardens, as well as open woodlands.
Caterpillars (larvae) feeds on specific plants in the region. Adult butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers.
Female butterflies lay eggs on the leaves of plants. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, which are dark with green patches. Caterpillars pupate – they make a chrysalis, which is a casing. Inside the casing, the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis (changes), and it emerges as an adult butterfly.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM