Papilio machaon - the Swallowtail
Mont Lozère, Parc National des Cévennes, Lozère, France
Order : Lepidoptera
Family : Papilionidae
Subfamily : Papilioninae
Genus : Papilio
Species : Papilio machaon gorganus
This large butterfly is widespread across Europe and is present in most parts of the Palaearctic Region. It is by far the most widespread Papilionidae species in the world. It has a wingspan of 65-85mm and is a strong and fast flier. Both sexes look very similar but the female is generally slightly larger. Males can sometimes be seen mud-puddling for minerals and salts. The species utilises a wide range of different habitats from fenland to alpine meadows and even high altitude montane areas.
Larval foodplants are various species from the Apiaceae, Asteraceae and Rutaceae families. Eggs are laid singly on the upper foliage and the resulting larvae look very much like bird droppings in their early stages, a quite common trait in the Papilionidae family. Later instars become magnificent-looking creatures, large and green coloured with black banding and orange spots.
All my insect pics are single, handheld shots of live insects in wild situations.