Despite its English common name, i.e. Scarce Swallowtail, Iphiclides Podalirius is a widespread butterfly in most of Europe apart from the northern parts. Its scarcity refers to the fact that the species is a rarity across Britain.
Also called the Sail Swallowtail this noteworthy butterfly has triangular wings spanning 6.5 to 8 cm and is one of the largest butterflies in Europe. With its wing shape and long tail it looks like a flying kite.
Generally, the female Swallowtail is larger than the male. Since the wingspan isn’t always a reliable way to determine the sex of a butterfly, it’s better to take a careful look at the end of its abdomen. The male is equipped with a pair of claspers at the end of the abdomen in order to grasp the female during mating.
Swallowtails are warmth seeking butterflies preferring dry spots scattered with bushes. This one was feeding on wild flowers in a field of high grasses, a few metres away from a private beach in Skala Rachoni, Thassos island, Greece.
Their hind wings have very long tails that can be easily damaged by lots of predators such as birds, small mammals or predatory insects. Even with an injured wing they can still fly surprisingly well enjoying each and every moment of their short but intense lives.