Scarce Swallowtail

Iphiclides podalirius (Linnaeus, 1758)



A large butterfly, pale yellow with six black stripes, and a long tail, white-tipped on the hindwing. Male and female are very similar. The wing shape is quite distinctive, though it could easily be confused with the much rarer P. alexanor, which only has four black stripes, a shorter tail, and the orange spot on the hindwing not on top of a blue spot.

Habitat Requirements

One of the most commonly reported butterflies on CBC's Facebook page, in part because it is so conspicuous and also because it occupies a wide range of urban and rural habitats. This species is very well adapted to the cultivated landscape of the Mediteranean.  

Larval Foodplants

Crataegus orientalis, Crateaegus heldreichii, Hawthorn Crateagus monogyna, Apple Malus domestica (introduced Malus pumila), Cherry Plum Prunus cerasifera, Almond Prunus dulcis, Peach Prunus persica, Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, Cretan Wild Almond Prunus webbii, Pear Pyrus communis (cultivated).

In Corfu, Dan Danahar has observed oviposition on isolated Almond Prunus dulcis, bushes/small trees. Both Dan and Anne Sordinas have observed oviposition on Prunus spinosa. The butterfly may also use Almond-leaved Pear Pyrus amygdaliformis, but this needs confirmation.


The most common of Corfu's three Swallowtail species. It's repeatedly observed hill-topping in search of mates, at the peak of Mt Pantokrator, where it glides effortlessly on it's large wings. It is often found nectaring on fruit trees and habitually takes nectar from Scabious, Thistles, Honesty, Lantana, White Asphodel, Marigolds etc.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Scarce Swallowtail submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 27/02/2023 18/10/2023 233 days
2022 13/03/2022 24/12/2022 286 days
2021 17/02/2021 16/10/2021 241 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 371
2022 364
2021 357
Grand Total 1092

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Scarce Swallowtail (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Scarce Swallowtail (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Scarce Swallowtail
  • Family: Papilionidae (Latreille, 1802)
  • Sub-family: Papilioninae (Latreille, [1802])
  • Tribe: Leptocircini (Kirby, 1896)
  • Genus: Iphiclides (Hübner, 1819)
  • Species: podalirius (Linnaeus, 1758)


For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.