It’s impossible not to admire these creatures! Description of the swallowtail butterfly - arthropod insect, order Lepidoptera. This butterfly is a member of the sailboat family, which includes the genus Papilio.Machaon (Papilio machaon).
It is believed that the most beautiful animals inhabit only distant island countries, found in tropical forests. Imagine - we were mistaken! Even in our country you can meet truly beautiful representatives of the fauna endowed with wonderful patterns or unusual shapes by nature. Just the butterflies living next to us, what are they worth! Take, for example, swallowtail. This marvelous beauty insect lives everywhere, including our climatic zones.
The large range gave the opportunity for the emergence of many subspecies of the Machaon. And today there are about 37 varieties of this insect. Why did the butterfly get such a name - "swallowtail"? The roots of this name carry us to the ancient country - Troy. It was there, once, according to legend, lived the miracle doctor Machaon, who skillfully healed wounded soldiers.Swallowtail egg (enlarged).
What does a butterfly look like a legendary doctor?
The size of this insect is pretty decent, among its relatives. The body length of the swallowtail is about 7 to 9 centimeters. The fragile wings of a swallowtail butterfly are striking in their beauty and variety of colors: the background, as a rule, is bright yellow, and on it are black, white, red, and blue patterns. What kind of lines and shapes you will not see here! Wavy, rounded shapes - all this beauty most skillfully fit on two pairs of small wings of a swallowtail.
Butterflies that appeared in the springtime have a brighter color than the summer representatives of this species.Grown Machaon Caterpillar
Where does the machaon live?
These butterflies occupy a vast territory on the globe. They can be found in the northern part of the African continent, in Europe, in North America, as well as in Asia.
Butterfly lifestyle called swallowtail
Scientists and researchers of the animal world note that swallowtail are very energetic butterflies. They do not stay on one plant for a long time. Having landed, they immediately fly up and fly on.
For living choose forest glades, meadows, deforestation. In winter, the machaons are pupated. Before the onset of the cold season, swallowtail caterpillars hang cocoons on the stems of fodder plants and so winter.
What does the swallowtail eat
For the machaon, as for most butterflies, the only food is flower nectar. Butterflies of this species visit inflorescences of plants such as: parsley, fennel and other species of umbellate.Swallowtail Summer Pupa
Reproduction of the machaons - how does it happen?
The mating season for these representatives of the sailing family occurs in the spring: from April to May. Butterflies swirl in the air. Their mating games resemble intricate dances in flight.
After courtship, the female does masonry on the feed plant: on the stem or leaf. In total, during the breeding season, one female is able to lay about 120 eggs. In its short life, a butterfly lays eggs twice.
After 7 days, swallowtail caterpillars begin to hatch from the egg laying. Their color is black with a red pattern on the back and a white speck. Swallowtail caterpillars are very voracious creatures. Barely born, they begin to eat plants. In the process of their development, the caterpillars change color.
Closer to winter, the caterpillar pupates and experiences cold in such a state that in the spring it turns into a wonderful butterfly! Unfortunately, this whole long process does not give a long life to an adult insect: in nature, the machaons live a little more than 20 days!A magical, beautiful sight - butterflies in a flower meadow.
Enemies of swallowtail in nature
The main butterfly hunters, including swallowtail, are insectivorous birds and ants.
Swallowtail and man
About 80 years ago, these butterflies were considered pests of cultivated plants, so they fought a merciless fight with it. As a result, the number of machaons, especially in our country, has sharply decreased.
But scientists are watching the population of the machaons on the planet. One can only hope that they will protect them in time if they are threatened with extermination.