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Scarce Swallowtail. Iphiclides podalirius (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diputación de Málaga
003 Chupaleche

Scarce Swallowtail. Iphiclides podalirius (Linnaeus, 1758)

Safe appearance Probable appearance
Animal Life > Butterflies

Wingspan: From 6 to 8 cm. It flies strongly so it might seem like a bird.

Routes where it can be observed


Open wings: Forewings are in the shape of a triangle, with big black wedge-formed stripes on light yellow background. Hindwings are wavy at the margins, with a black stripe and blue spots in the shape of half moons. They also have two 'swallow's tails'.

Closed wings: The shapes are similar to the previous ones, but with fewer black spots, so they seem a bit worn out.

Similar species

Spanish Festoon: It is smaller and has no 'swallow's tail'. The yellow colours on it are more striking and it has red spots.

Old World Swallowtail: It is little bigger, without red spots, and its black spots are not wedge-formed.

Biology and Habitat

These butterflies fly from the end of winter to the beginning of autumn, and counts on two generations, out of which the second one is bigger and it appears in July.

They spread easily, and can be found in all kinds of habitats, included urban areas, where they drink nectar on garden plants. Nevertheless, the species prefers well-preserved forests, wide thicket areas and abandoned almond trees, as its caterpillars feed on almond trees (Prunus dulcis), and other wild and domesticated varieties of fruit trees that belong to Rosaceae family (Prunus, Pyrus y Crataegus).

Distribution in the Great Path

This species can be found at any part of the Great Málaga Path, as it tends to spread easily. It is more difficult to be found in urban and northern areas, when it gets close to rivers, streams or almond trees.