Orchard Swallowtail

The upper wings of an Orchard Swallowtail sat on a leaf


Female Orchard Swallowtail resting on a green leaf


An early instar caterpillar of an Orchard Swallowtail feeding on a green leaf

Early instar

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Scientific Name: Papilio aegeus

Wing Span: 102-108mm

What does it look like?

The forewings of the adult male Orchard Swallowtail are black with a band of white spots towards the tip, hindwings black with white central panels, and a red spot on the rear of each. Female pale grey and black on forewings, while the hindwings are largely white and black with distinguishing blue, red, and black heart-shaped spots. Caterpillar grey and white, often resembling bird droppings, when young, becoming green and white with age. Has a red, forked, fleshy horn (osmeterium) that is everted when disturbed.

Where is it found?

Mainly found in eastern Australia, from northern Qld to western Vic. Patchily distributed in other states and territories.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Orchard Swallowtail is found wherever citrus plants grow, including commercial orchards and household gardens, where the caterpillars eat the leaves of the citrus plant that they were laid upon as an egg. Once fully grown they metamorphose within a very well-camouflaged bud-like green pupa, attached to the stem of their host tree.

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A Naturaliust's Guide to the Butterflies of Australia cover

This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Butterflies of Australia

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