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Southern Swallowtail

Papilio alexanor Esper, 1800

Status

Corfu Status: Present EU Red Data Status 2010: Least Concern

Description

A large yellow butterfly with four black stripes on the forewing, and a medium length tail on the hindwing. The antennae club is straight and white tipped. Male and female are usually very similar but males may be more intensely coloured than females, as well as being  considereably smaller than females. The wing shape is quite distinctive, though could be confused with I. podalirius, which is somewhat paler in colour, with a long, white-tipped tail, and six black stripes on the forewing. It also resembles P. machaon, which has a scalloped submarginal black band, and the antennae are black and hooked. 

Habitat Requirements

Hilly country, with hot dry slopes and therefore mostly restricted to the northern uplands of Corfu.

Larval Foodplants

Ammoides pusilla (white flowers) Dill Anethum graveolens, Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium - not on Corfu, Coriander Coriandrum sativum, Giant Fennel Ferula communis, Fennel Foeniculum vulgare, Opopanax chironium (yellow flowers), Opopanax hispidus (yellow flowers), Scaligeria napiformis, Upright Hedge-parsley Torilis japonica, Knotted Hedge-parsley Torilis nodosa.

Observations

The least common of Corfu's three Swallowtail species. This butterfly engages in elabroate aerial courtships and takes nectar from Scabious and Thistles.

It is the adult of this species, set on a backdrop of a green Corfu, that is shown in our Corfu Butterfly Conservation icon/symbol.

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

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2022 28/04/2022 15/05/2022 17 days
2021 08/05/2021 21/06/2021 44 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2022 82
2021 228
Grand Total 310

Distribution Map

Distribution map for the Southern Swallowtail based on the data submitted online via this website will be available below soon.

Flight Times for the Southern Swallowtail (2022)

The chart below shows Southern Swallowtail flight data by month for 2022 submitted online since 1st January 2022 to 17th May 2022.

Flight Times for the Southern Swallowtail (All Data)

The chart below shows Southern Swallowtail flight data by month based on all data submitted online since 1st January 2019 to 17th May 2022.

Taxonomy

  • Vernacular/Common Name: Southern Swallowtail
  • Family: Papilionidae (Latreille, 1802)
  • Sub-family: Papilioninae (Latreille, [1802])
  • Tribe: Papilionini (Latreille, [1802])
  • Genus: Papilio (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Species: alexanor Esper, 1800

References

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