Radu Andrei Alexandru

The Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius)

The Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) is a Palearctic swallowtail butterfly found in gardens, fields and open woodlands. First described by Linnaeus in 1758, it is found in places with sloe thickets and particularly orchards. It is also called Sail Swallowtail or Pear-tree Swallowtail. The Southern Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthamelii), is sometimes treated as a subspecies. Despite the name ('scarce'), this swallowtail is quite common. It is widespread throughout Europe with the exception of the northern parts. Its range extends northwards to Saxony and central Poland and eastwards across Asia Minor and Transcaucasia as far as the Arabian peninsula, India, and western China. A few specimens of the Scarce Swallowtail have been reported from central Sweden and the UK but they were probably only strays and not migrants. The scarcity of UK migrants is responsible for the English common name. In the Alps it can be found up to altitudes of 1600 m. In some years the Scarce Swallowtail is quite abundant. The Scarce Swallowtail is getting rarer as the blackthorn bushes are being cleared. The butterfly is now protected by law in Czech republic, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Russia and Poland.

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