Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

7939_male_Isère_5Jul07 22425_male_Hautes-Alpes_16Jul10 1133_male_Alpes-Maritimes_28May06
7983_male_Isère_5Jul07 31820_sex?_Var_23Apr13 36839_sex?_Var_13Apr15
 
17051_female_Var_30Jun09 15226_ovum_Var_20May09  

This is a most majestic butterfly, huge and floating effortlessly. It is not, as its English name implies, scarce, and in my experience it is much more common than the Swallowtail (Papilio machaon). I believe the English name originates from the early English lepidopterists and refers to its scarcity in the UK in the 1800s or thereabouts.

 

In 2000 in the Dordogne at a cottage with some lavender bushes about five metres from the front door, on one occasion twelve podalirius were nectaring together.

In 2006 I saw at least 15 very fresh podalirius "puddling" (taking salts and moisture from wet earth), and when two machaon arrived to puddle at the same place they were driven away by the podalirius. Not unlike crows mobbing a hawk, quite an amazing sight.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
7939 M

a male, taking salts. This shows the width of the enormous podalirius wings.

900
22425 M

a male, taking salts.

1000
1133 M

a male underside. A quick snap as the wings are constantly on the move.

330
7983 M

another quickly taken shot to catch the underside of this male.

900
31820 ? a very fresh, probably just emerged, specimen. 450
36839 ? this specimen had just emerged and was in the process of drying its wings. 20
17051 F

a female, I believe.

920
15226 ovum

an ovum, on a leaf of Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa).

140

 

7939_male_Isère_5Jul07

 

22425_male_Hautes-Alpes_16Jul10

 

1133_male_Alpes-Maritimes_28May06

 

7983_male_Isère_5Jul07

 

31820_sex?_Var_23Apr13

 

36839_sex?_Var_13Apr15

 

17051_female_Var_30Jun09

 

15226_ovum_Var_20May09