Scarce Swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

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Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

Ssp. podalirius, Switzerland, April 2009, on the foodplant

Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

Ssp. podalirius, Switzerland, May 2010

Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

Ssp. podalirius, Switzerland, May 2010

Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

Subspecies feisthamelii from Spain, July 2011

Iphiclides feisthamelii

Subspecies feisthamelii, Málaga, February 2017

Iphiclides feisthamelii

Subspecies feisthamelii, Málaga, February 2017

Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

Ssp. podalirius. This and the two pictures below were taken in the Val d'Aran in July 2005

Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

(note the second scarce swallowtail in the background)

Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

The last picture was taken on one of my very first trips to the Pyrenees, many years ago. It is ssp. podalirius.

Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius

Despite its name, which is due to its extreme scarcity in England (a very occasional migrant), the scarce swallowtail is not generally scarce in Europe. It is easily separated from the common swallowtail by the striking wedge-shaped dark markings on a very pale ground, and the longer tails. The Spanish form, feisthamelii, found everywhere south of the Pyrenees, is often considered a species in its own right. I am not competent to judge on this but most recent books do give it full specific status. This species or subspecies has rather narrower wings and is a more papery white. The third stripe from the base of the forewing, which is most typically tapered to a narrow point in podalirius, is cut off abruptly at the edge of the cell.