Papilio alexanor (Southern Swallowtail, Südlicher Schwalbenschwanz)

Papilio alexanor, also called Southern Swallowtail or Südlicher Schwalbenschwanz is a very grand butterfly from Palaearctic ecozone (Asia). The first description was in 1800 by Esper. With a wingspan of 7.0 – 8.0 cm the Southern Swallowtail is a small member of the family PAPILIONIDAE. The butterfly is yellowish with typical black tiger-strips. Hind wings have long tails. Papilio alexanor has a small area of distribution and is rare.

Photos for easy identification

Photo © by Norbert Ulmann ([email protected])

These are nice photos of Papilio alexanor (Southern Swallowtail, Südlicher Schwalbenschwanz). Papilio alexanor is a member of the family PAPILIONIDAE from Palaearctic (Asia).


The forewings are yellowish and have a black margin. Next to margin there is a long, light powdered black band. Nearby the body is a little black area. Between these opposites there are three tiger-strips. The strip in the middle has a light-coloured core.
The underside is a copy of upside, but there are some differences. The strip in the middle has a blue core.

The hind wings are white or yellowish and have long tails in black. The margin is very ridged. There is a blue-black band going backwards. There is only one black tiger-strip and one short strip in the middle of the wing. In back there is a red eye with a blue eyeshadow. There is a dark zone around the body.
The underside is a copy of upside.

The body is striped in black and yellow.

Sex differences: None


The Southern Swallowtail (Papilio alexanor) is a very nice butterfly of the Palaearctic ecozone (Europe and Asia). The distribution extend from the South of Europe (Italy, Greece) to Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

This world map shows the ecozones in which this butterfly is distributed.

Flight period

The flight period of the Southern Swallowtail is from June to August.

Larval food

Dill, Fennel, Caraway, Parsley

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer

General information

The first description of this butterfly was in 1800 by Esper. There are some subspecies.

The caterpillar is green or yellow with black strips and red spots. The pupa has a silken girdl. This species overwinters as pupa.

Protection provisions / Red List

Similar and closely-related species

Iphiclides podalirius [Linnaeus, 1758] (Scarce Swallowtail, Segelfalter, Le Flambé) 

Papilio hospiton [Guenée, 1839] (Corsican Swallowtail, Korsischer Schwalbenschwanz)

Papilio machaon [Linnaeus, 1758] (Swallowtail, Schwalbenschwanz, Le Grande Porte-queue)

Scientific name

Papilio alexanor Esper 1800


 Southern Swallowtail, Baluchi Yellow Swallowtail
 Südlicher Schwalbenschwanz, Alexanor Schwalbenschwanz
Zuidelijke koninginnepage

Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree

To the family tree (Genus: PAPILIO)...





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Back to family Papilionidae from PALAEARCTIC (ASIA)


Apatura iris
Inachis io
Nymphalis antiopa
Apatura iris
Vanessa atalanta
Papilio machaon
Pierides sp.
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