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Photo Information
Copyright: Marius Secan (marius-secan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2007 W: 0 N: 5412] (29598)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-04-13
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D300, NIKON AF-S 105 mm f/2,8 G IF-ED VR II
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/100 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-04-14 23:05
Viewed: 2379
Favorites: 6 [view]
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) is a butterfly of the family Papilionidae. The butterfly is also known as the common yellow swallowtail or simply the swallowtail (a common name applied to all members of the family). It is the type species of the genus Papilio and occurs throughout the Palearctic region in Europe and Asia; it also occurs across North America, and thus, is not restricted to the Old World, despite the common name.

This butterfly is present throughout the entire Palearctic region, ranging from Russia to China and Japan, (including the Himalayas and Taiwan), and across into Alaska, Canada, and the United States.

In Asia, it is reported as far south as Saudi Arabia, Oman, the high mountains of Yemen, Lebanon, and Israel. In southern Asia, it occurs in Pakistan and Kashmir, northern India (Sikkim, to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh), Nepal, Bhutan, and northern Myanmar.

This butterfly is widespread in Europe. In the United Kingdom, it is limited to a few areas in the Norfolk Broads of East Anglia. It is the UK's largest resident butterfly. The Monarch Danaus plexippus is slightly larger, but is only a rare vagrant.

As P. machaon is widespread throughout Eurasia and often common, it is not threatened as a species. It is listed as "Vulnerable" in the South Korean and Austrian Red Data Books, and in the Red Data Book of the former Soviet Union.

In some countries, P. machaon and its subspecies are protected by law. Papilio machaon machaon is protected by law in six provinces of Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. The species is protected in the United Kingdom, and subsp. verityi is protected in India.

The butterfly has a strong and fast flight, but frequently pauses to hover over flowering herbs and sip nectar. It frequents alpine meadows and hillsides, and males are fond of 'hilltopping', congregating near summits to compete for passing females. At lower elevations, it can be seen visiting gardens.

Unlike other swallowtails, this species specialises in using plants of family Umbelliferae, females laying eggs singly. Milk parsley Peucedanum palustre (also known as marsh hog's fennel) is normally the only food plant used by the caterpillars of the British subspecies. The food plants of the swallowtail in Europe, Asia, and North America are more varied than in the UK. It uses a wide variety of umbellifers including wild carrot Daucus carota, wild angelica Angelica sylvestris, fennel Foeniculum vulgare, and hogweeds Heracleum spp. In the Maltese Islands, the caterpillar feeds on plants such as rue Ruta chalepensis and fennel Foeniculum vulgare.

In Kashmir, the common yellow swallowtail, as Papilio machaon is called there, inhabits alpine meadows in the Himalayas occurring from 2,000 feet (610 m) in Kashmir valley to 16,000 ft (4,900 m) in the Garhwal Himalayas. In India, Himachal Pradesh, it is found over 4,000 ft (1,200 m) only and in Sikkim over 8,000 ft (2,400 m) only.

At lower elevations, these butterflies fly from March to September; at higher elevations, they are limited by the short summer seasons.

The British subspecies P. m. brittanicus is less mobile than its European continental counterpart and stays within, or close by, its fenland habitat.

Old World swallowtails can easily be bred in captivity.

Butterflies can be lured to lay eggs in a backyard garden by keeping plenty of caterpillar food plants in it. Common rue plants are highly appropriate for this.

Once eggs or young caterpillars have been collected, they can be kept in a pot with holes on its top to allow air circulation. More than one caterpillar may be kept in a single pot since they do not attack each other (although they might sometimes get frightened by other caterpillars moving). They can be fed any of their food plants. Fennel is one of the easiest to find in the wild. Care must be taken with fennel, though, because they will not eat hard, woody stems; they need to be fed the tender leaves. They can also be fed rue or milk parsley. Feeding them with unsuitable plants will lead to death from starvation.

Caterpillars are very fast eaters; they will spend their time eating or resting before they resume their eating again.

Once a sufficient size has been attained, they will attach themselves to any available structure with their silky threads. They will then stay still until they become pupae. This will take about a day. They will not build a woven chrysalid, they become pupae internally and then they shed their skins.

Once in the pupa stage, they can be very carefully removed from the pot and placed in a warm location. The time the butterfly takes to form and come out depends on the temperature. If kept in warm summer temperatures, it will take about one or two weeks to form. On the other hand, if the temperature is lower, it might take as long as several months until it feels the weather is warm enough.

Pupae should not be kept on an impermeable surface, since when they eclose a bit of liquid will be released, this means the butterfly would stay wet and might not be able to fly. Absorbing paper such as the one used in kitchens is advisable.

pegos, flashpoint, goatman04, Marco2010, josediogo1958, vanda, anel has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

WOW! GREAT photo Marius! The composition, the BG, the colours and the sharpness are excellent! The symmetrical position of the butterflies is amazing!

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-04-14 23:35]

Hello Marius.
Excellent detailed capture of nature at work. I see excellent detail, great exposure, and excellent POV and a nice composition.Best regards Siggi

Hello Marius,
Amazing photo, couple of butterflies in a great configuration.

Hai colto una posizione meravigliosa!! La foto č tecnicamente perfetta, ma č il dinamismo e la composizione che la rende unica: BRAVISSIMO! La metto tra le preferite

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6551 W: 89 N: 15640] (65417)
  • [2012-04-15 0:55]

Hi Marius,what a lucky meeting and what a perfect way to take it!!Spectacular kamasutra and fantastic capture,the details are perfect everywhere an this is a great result!!2 points are not enough today! Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-04-15 0:57]

Hello Marius,
Great photo of these Swallowtails. Amazing sharpness and details. Very beautiful colours in fantastic clarity. Splendid blurred background too. Excellent composition.

  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2012-04-15 1:45]

Hello Marius,
this image is really FANTASTIC! Excellent sharpness, detail and light; great time tacken and perfect POV; splendid colours and very nice contrast with a clean background. A beauty!

fantastic capture Marius!!
mating posture really nice
this situation is not easy to find
compliments sERGIO

Ciao Marius. Great pic MF! Stunning details and sharp for th "hot" situation. Perfect OOF BG.


Buna marius,
O poza interesanta si foarte reusita in aceasta fluturi.Detalii si culori foarte buna si contrast foarte buna fata de fundal.-Numai bine.
Fericite de Pasti!

Hello Marius,
wow what a great scene and perfectly taken with good sharpness, wonderful colours and a beautiful bokeh. Marvellous picture of a fantastic moment. Congratulations.
Best wishes,

Ciao Marius, fantastic maiting couple on a lovely blurry BG, great sharpness, fine details, splendid light and wonderful bright colors, very well done, my friend, have a good Sunday, ciao Silvio

Hello Marius,

This is an excellent capture with such beautiful coloration, sharpness & composition. Very nicely done & TFS.

Best wishes


Hello Marius

Excellent shot of this species with realy amazing sharpness and clarity.Great DOF and nice background.


Ciao Marius.
Che foto magnifica!!sembra un quadro d’autore con dei colori meravigliosi,ottima nitidezza,eccellente la composizione,veramente molto bella complimenti.
Ciao Marco.
Grazie della condivisione.

great capture Marius, congratulations !

very nice colors and details !

have a good time,

ciao, tino

hello Marius
this is SUPER good
i like this composition with so many details and beautiful colours
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2012-04-15 12:42]

Wow!!! What a shot!!! What a moment ,dear Marius!!!!
Fantastic and gorgeous pic showing these tow wonderful butterflies.
Great sharpness,great colors,great POV,great BG...lighting...I´am
really enchanted! Thanks for sharing such amazing job with us!
Thanks also for visiting my gallery!Appreciated it!
Nice week!

Boa noite Marius
This is a awesome capture.Great moment!
Everything on it is perfect.As Luciano says 2 points are nothing today.. congrats!
Have a great week and thank You,
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2012-04-15 15:27]

Incredible, fantastic capture, Marius!! Perfect sharpness and superb details.
Great DOF and nice lighting.
A wonderful composition: congratulations my friend.
Ciao and lovely week! Vanda

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2012-04-16 5:02]

Hello Marius,
How lucky you have been! Two Swallowttails and in the best display you could have.
A fine neutral background too. Fine and interesting shot, indeed.
Have a nice week
Kind regards

Buna Marius,
Frumos moment surprins in culori vii, detalii bune si un fundal al imaginii uniform ce contrasteaza excellent cu subiectii. Felcitari!
Numai bine,

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2012-04-18 0:38]

This one is Spectacular. Simply spectacular! No need to say more....



  • Great 
  • Tina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 60 W: 0 N: 132] (1427)
  • [2012-04-23 22:11]

A masterpiece Marius ! Clarity, natural colors , contrast with the BG !Surely a favorite of mine !

Hi Marius,
This photo featured on the main site today. No more words need - an absolute masterpiece. Bravo.
Best regards, László

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