Swallowtail Butterflies: Everything You Need to Know

For their vivid colours and unique wing structure, swallowtail butterflies are among the most famous butterflies. Learn everything about these lovely insects

One of the largest butterfly families is Papilionidae, which contains swallowtails. Every continent save Antarctica has around 550 swallowtail species.  

Variability of species  

Their huge hind wings resemble swallow tails, hence their name. Their wings have bold yellow, orange, blue, and black stripes and dots.  

Unique Look  

Woodlands, pastures, grasslands, and gardens host swallowtail butterflies. Some species like tropical jungles, others temperate.  


All butterflies, including swallowtails, undergo complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Species and habitat determine stage length.  


Swallowtail caterpillars consume several plants. Common hosts include carrots, citrous, and Rutaceae. Some species preferentially host plants.  

Having Plants  

Swallowtail butterflies have many predator defences. Some species mimic hazardous or unpleasant animals' wing patterns to deter predators. Swallowtails with forked osmeteria produce foul-smelling chemicals to deter predators.  

Mimicry and Defence  


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