Introduction to Swallowtail Butterflies

Swallowtail Butterflies are members of the Papilionidae butterfly family which includes some of the largest and most colourful butterfly species to be found in the world. There are over 550 species worldwide. Most species are found in the tropics and include the spectacular Birdwings, including the largest butterfly in the world the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing of Papua New Guinea with a wingspan of in excess of 30cms.

In the British Isles the only resident Papilionid species is the Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio machoan form Britannicus. Examples of the nominate Continental European form P. m. gorganus which is occasionally recorded as a migrant in the south of England are shown below and in the European Butterfly gallery. In the whole of Europe there are only 12 butterfly species belonging to the Papilionidae family.

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon britannicus)

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon gorganus)

Links to Other British Butterfly Galleries:

Links to Other Butterfly Galleries: