Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Old World Swallowtail
Papilio machaon Linnaeus, 1758


Family: Papilionidae
Subfamily: Papilioninae
Identification: Upperside of hindwing near tail has reddish-orange eyespot with black along lower border touching inner edge of hindwing or at least not a centered eyespot.
Wing Span: 2 1/2 - 3 inches (6.5 - 7.5 cm).
Life History: Females lay eggs singly on the host plant, and newly-hatched caterpillars eat the leaves. Older caterpillars feeding on plants of the parsley family prefer to eat the flowers. Chrysalids overwinter.
Flight: In north, one flight in late May-July; two flights in south.
Caterpillar Hosts: Sagebrushes (Artemisia species), including Arctic wormwood and wild tarragon, rarely plants in the parsley family.
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Open hilltops, mountain meadows, tundra.
Range: Holarctic. In North America, south from Alaska to northern British Colombia, east across Canada to western Quebec. Southern British Colombia south through New Mexico. Comments: Includes , P. oregonius and P. bairdii.
Conservation: Not noted as of concern, but is rare or uncommon.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None noted.
Comments: NULL

Pollinator Week is June 20-26, 2022!

Butterflies and moths are accidental pollinators of many flowering plants. While most species do not have special structures to carry pollen, they do brush against pollen and transfer it to other flowers.

Did you know? The Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) flies close to the ground and uses its short proboscis to probe flowers of wild strawberry, white sweet clover, and other low-lying plants.