- Subfamily: Papilioninae
- Wingspan: 60-90 mm
- Flight period: May - Sep
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Apiacee - Rutacee
The Papilio machaon also called Smallowtail is a large butterfly with a wingspan of 60-90 mm.
The swallowtail can be found throughout the Palearctic region in Europe and Asia as well as throughout North America. In Italy it is also present in the islands *.
The adult generally has cream yellow front wings with black veins and spots.
The hind wings of both sexes have a pair of protruding tails. In the anal area there is an obvious red spot, surrounded by black and dusting of intense dark blue. The post-discal region has a large black band, with dark blue, shaded and almost circular spots. The reverse of the wings takes up the same design as the upper page with more subdued colors. **
A fairly common species, it is highly adaptable, using a wide variety of habitats, including Canada's sub-arctic tundra, grasslands, arid forests and canyons in the southern United States; mowing lawns, road quays, river banks and subalpine pastures in Europe, and of semi-cultivated habitats in the Mediterranean area. The ability to adapt also extends to host plants, which vary in different continents.
Males often tend to preside over raised areas where they compete for the attention of passing females (hill topping). Bivoltine the flickers occur in spring and summer, but depending on the latitude, adults have also been observed in October belonging to a third generation.
The caterpillar, green with black bands punctuated by yellow-orange spots, has a particular extroflectable organ (osmeterium) , used for defensive purposes.
There are several host plants of the Apiaceae (Umbrellifere) such as Dacus carota, Phoeniculum vulgare (fennel) and Rutaceae Ruta graveolens