N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Papilio machaon machaon Linné, 1758

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Papilio machaon Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat., X
Type locality: Sweden (Verity, 1947)
Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Papilio sphyrus Hübner, [1823]

Old World Swallowtail
Le Machaon, Le Grand Porte-queue
Schwalbenschwanz
Macaone
Makaon

Habit:

race gorganus : Crimea race hispanicus : Portugal race gorganus : Crimea race gorganus : Salzburg, Flachgau, Thalgau, Thalgauegg, location 5/1, 1980.08.21, coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     
the same butterfly from underside      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     

Description:
(examined: 1 , 2 )

wing expanse: 62 mm, 71 - 79 mm
Head and thorax are black with a yellow line each, which is extending to the base of the wing. The eyes are brown, the antennae black.
On the upperside, the wings are sulphurous to light yellow, the anterior wing with a broad black band on the margin, which is interrupted by a line of yellow dots between the veins. The basal third of the wing is black too with scattered yellow scales. Also black are the veins and three dots on the anterior margin of the wing. The hindwings are distinctly tailed, the black margin is scattered with blue. On the anal angle of the wing is located a red and blue eyelike dot, which is finely bordered with black. The veins are black too, the curved inner margin is black with yellow hairs. The underside of the wings is distictly lighter than the upper side, the black margin being strongly suffused with yellow and the yellow spots within it forming a uniform fascia of the same width. The inner margin of the hindwing is yellow. On the underside of the subanal area of the hindwing is located a deep groove.
The body is black, with yellow hairs laterally and beneath.

The females usually are bigger and lighter in ground color than the males, with broader fasciae. Generally the yellow ground colour is subject to variation concerning tone and brightness.

Distribution:

The species is distributed from northwest Africa throughout Europe, the near and middle East and temperate Asia to Japan, as well as in North America. In the mountains it reaches up to 2000 m, animals that have gone astray exceptionally up to 3000 m.

Biology:

Greece, Thessalia, Meteora, Kastraki, Doupiani-House, 2003.05.20 : Salzburg, Osterhorn group, near Krispl, Ochsenberg, 2001.08.12 Salzburg, Osterhorn group, Schlenken, summit, 2006.06.15 Austria, Salzburg, Flachgau, Thalgau, Stilles Tal, 2000.04.22
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
 
Austria, Styria, northern alps, Mariazell, near the Hubertussee, 2004.06.07 Austria, Styria, east of Graz, Enzelsdorf, 2004.07.18 Portugal, Lissabon, Mercês, Jardim Botânico de Lisboa, 2006.11.18  
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: www.flickr.com: Emerging Birder (Creative Commons)
Detailed view
 

The species inhabits open areas, which are not utilized too intensive. In northern Europe this is mostly moist land, like moors and marshes, whereas further south, primarily dry biotops like poor meadows or even hot and sunny places are preferred.

The butterflies have 1 - 3 generations per year (in middle Europe mostly april/may and july/august). In the summer the animals often fly together on the summit of hills or mountains (hilltopping).

Stages in development:

without data, 2007.05.16 Styria Portugal, Lissabon, Mercês, Jardim Botânico de Lisboa, 2006.11.18 a fully grown larva: Austria, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee area, Lange Lacke, 2000.06.06
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Chai (GNU Free Documentation License)
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: www.flickr.com: Emerging Birder (Creative Commons)
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   
the larva immediately before pupation: Austria, Salzburg, Thalgau, 1986.09.29 the pupa to the preceeding larve: Austria, Salzburg, Thalgau, photograph taken 1987.04.05    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   

Egg:
The eggs are laid on the leaves of the foodplants. The egg is globular, with weak sculptures, at first light, later beoming darker.

Larva:
In its youth, the larva is black with red papilles and a big white spot on the back. Fully grown it is green with a black transverse band on each segment, each band carrying 6 orange-red dots. For defense purposes, the larva can turn inside out a yellow-orange fork from its neck, from it is excreted a caustic secrete. In very hot mediterranean areas, the larvae are not green, but black and white, the orange-red dots remaining unchanged. As foodplants are utilized different Apiaceae and Rutaceae. The larvae develop within a few weeks, pupating on robust stems or on withered woody plants.

Pupa:
The pupa is green, yellow or brown, ventrally with two rows of blunt knobs on the segments. The colour seems to be influenced directly by the environment. The pupe overwinters.

Anatomy:

     
-genitalia: Switzerland      
Picture from: © Higgins 1975, modified
Detailed view
     

genitalia (Higgins 1975). Uncus well formed with slender pointed apex; scaphium vestigal, depressed, with vestiges of tegumen; valve broad, sacculus with densely chitinized, elongate row of many dorsal teeth; penis bowed, short and massive.

Diagnosis:

The desert swallowtail (Papilio saharae Oberthür, 1879) cannot be distinguished externally, but its antenna has only 30 - 31 segments (in contrast to 33 - 36 for machaon). Papilio hospiton Guenée, 1839 and Papilio alexanor Esper, 1799 can be distinguished by their wing pattern: With hospiton the black drawings are more widespread, especially along the veins. The eyelike spot in the anal angle of the hind wing is crescent-shaped and not round, the tails are distinctly shorter than with machaon. With P. alexanor Esp. the basal black area of the forewing is reduced to a transverse fascia at about 1/4, which is extending also onto the hindwing. The submarginal spots on the forewing mostly are united to a non interrupted band.

Genetics:

chromosome number (haploid): 30 - 32 (!?, Higgins, 1975)

Worth knowing:

Sources:

Forster W. & Th.A. Wohlfahrt (1976): Die Schmetterlinge Mitteleuropas, 2, 2. Auflage, Franckh´sche Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart
Higgins, L. (1975): The Classification of European Butterflies, Collins, London
Higgins L.G. & N.D. Riley (1978): Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas, übersetzt von W. Forster, 2. Auflage, Verlag Paul Parey, Hamburg und Berlin
Leraut P. (1992): Les papillons dans leur milieu, Bordas
Tolman T. & R. Lewington (1998): Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas, übersetzt von M. Nuß, Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co., Stuttgart

Publication data:

history:
Kurz Michael: 2006.01.12
Kurz Michael: 2006.01.15
Kurz Michael: 2008.12.08
Kurz Michael: 2011.04.12
Kurz Michael: 2016.10.03
Kurz Michael: 2016.10.20
not reviewed

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