Papilio machaon, Pasture 12, Little Missouri National Grassland, McKenzie County,
North Dakota, 16 July 2005 Ref
Old World Swallowtail
Papilio machaon Scudder, 1869
Tribe Papilionini, Fluted Swallowtails
There are about 600 species within the family Papilionidae. The family is made up
of 3 subfamilies, the Parnassiinae, which has about 50 species of Parnassians and
Apollos that are found mostly in the montane regions of the nothern hemisphere, the
Baroniinae, which has only 1 species, Baronia brevicomis from western Mexico, and
the Papilioninae, which has about 550 species found worldwide. The subfamily Papilioninae
is further divided into 4 tribes, the Teinopalpini, which include 2 species from
the Himalayas, the Troidini, which has about 130 worldwide species including the
birdwings, the Leptocircini, which has about 140 species and includes kite Swallowtails,
and the Papilionini, which has over 200 worldwide species and includes the fluted
swallowtails in which Papilio machaon belongs to.
Papilio machaon has a holarctic range and in North America is found from Alaska down
to southern Canada east through the northern plains and then south to the Rocky Mountain
states. It is generally not common and does not visit gardens regularly like most
other swallowtails. There are many variations that used to be considered separate
species. The northern examples are very yellow and the southern are almost black.
Males are avid ‘hilltoppers.’
Larval hostplants include wild tarragon, wormwood and plants in the parsley family.
Larvae have eversible organs called osmeteria that are used to chemically deter
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