The diverse beauty of butterflies


The Papilionidae (or Papilionidae) are a family of butterflies comprising some 570 species, magnificent Lepidoptera of diverse beauty called Swallowtail in English.

They are among the largest butterflies in the world and are present on all continents except Antarctica.

Here are some examples of the diverse beauty of butterflies:

* One of the best known is the swallowtail (Papilio machaon). Also called great swallowtail, its black underlined features forming a point at the back of the wings reminiscent of the swallow. It is sometimes confused with the celery butterfly or black swallowtail.


photo credit Stavros Markopoulos (CC BY-NC 2.0)


photo credit Jean-Raphaël Guillaumin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

* Papilio bianor or Chinese peacock

This charming butterfly is found in Japan and Taiwan, a beautifully dark species with a sprinkling of iridescent blue dust on the wings. The female also has red spots under the wings.
If it generally lives in wooded areas, it now also extends into urban gardens.


photo credit leemt2 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


photo credit Sek Keung Lo (CC BY-NC 2.0)

* Papilio palinurus, the emerald swallowtail

A butterfly of a rare green color that can be found in Southeast Asia, especially in the rainforest of Malaysia.


photo credit Le poidesans (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


photo credit Steve Begin (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


photo credit Jean-Guy Dallaire (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

* Papilio demodocus, Vinson’s butterfly or citrus butterfly.

It is a species from sub-Saharan Africa where it is unfortunately persona non grata because it feeds on citrus trees. A real nuisance for fruit growers, especially since there can be up to three generations per year. And if the eggs are laid on the trees, they are difficult to discover and destroy before they hatch because the butterfly lays them individually.


photo credit Marc Veraart (CC BY 2.0)


source wikimedia


photo credit Vicki DeLoach (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


photo credit Karunakar Rayker (CC BY 2.0)

* Beat philenor

It is a butterfly found in Canada in Costa Rica. It feeds on milkweed and as a result this butterfly is very toxic to birds and other animals that would like to eat it. Its colors are a warning signal for predators.


photo credit bansheed (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


photo credit Tom (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


photo credit melystu (CC BY-NC 2.0)


photo credit Vicki DeLoach (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

* Eurytides Marcellus, the zebra butterfly

The official state butterfly of Tennessee, the zebra butterfly is so called for its zebra coat. It has triangular wings that end in a red spot and a long tail.


photo credit *starrynight1 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


photo credit Larry Meade (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


photo credit Bob Peterson (CC BY 2.0)

* Graphium sarpedon, the blue sailfish

This butterfly is mainly found in Southeast Asia and in some parts of Australia. Although it prefers the humidity of tropical forests, it also skims the cinnamon plantations, delighting in all the trees of the laurel family.


photo credit Zorac&Visar (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


photo credit B_cool (CC BY 2.0)


photo credit Aidan Mak (CC BY-ND 2.0)

* Papilio rutulus, the western tiger swallowtail

A very common butterfly in North America where it is even found in parks and gardens. With its pretty red and blue spots near its tails, it is quite simply charming even though encounters with this member of the papilionids are not uncommon.


photo credit Jamie Chavez (CC BY-NC 2.0)


photo credit Jack Wolf (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A non-exhaustive list among all the species of butterflies to which we can also add the glaucous butterfly.

Some of these swallowtails, however, are endangered species and feature in Laura Hart’s glass sculptures.

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