Seq # 430020010

Papilio machaon Linnaeus, 1758 Species

Last modified: Oct. 25, 2023, 1:40 p.m.

A fairly common species throughout Belgium. Numbers can vary between years but the species is never rare.


Family: Papilionidae > Subfamily: Papilioninae > Tribus: Papilionini > Genus: Papilio > Species: Papilio machaon
Vernacular names
Koninginnenpage (NL), The Swallowtail (EN), Machaon (FR), Schwalbenschwanz (DE)
First mention in Belgium
De Sélys-Longchamps E. 1837. Catalogue des Lépidoptères ou Papillons de la Belgique, précédé du tableau des Libellulines de ce pays. — — : 1–29. On page 15 (as Papilio machaon). view page




This large species is easily identified by the unique black pattern on a pale yellowish ground colour. Apart from the blackish accentuated veins, the wings have a dark base and a dark subterminal band, on the hindwing, this subterminal band has a series of blue spots with a red eyespot in the tornus. Wing length: 32–41mm.

Museum specimens

No pictures yet!

Specimens in nature


Eggs are pale yellowish and spherical and are laid singly on the larval foodplant.

No pictures yet!


Young larvae are blackish with several small spines per segment and a white dorsal patch, making them look like a small bird dropping. In later instars the caterpillars lose their spines and their camouflage when they get a green ground color with each segment wearing a black transverse band with red spots.


A thorough description of the bionomics of this species can be found on the Butterflies in the Benelux website.

No pictures yet!

Flight periods

The adults fly in two generations a year: from late April till the end of June, and from early July till the end of August with singletons flying into autumn.

Observed on

Host plant (species):
Peucedanum palustre, Angelica sylvestris and Daucus carota

The larva lives on several species of Umbelliferae, commonly on Daucus carota and Foeniculum vulgare. Eggs are often laid on small plants on bare ground. Caterpillars are commonly found in gardens.

No pictures yet!


This is a widespread species in Belgium, especially to be found on warmer grasslands. Not only natural (calcareous) grasslands but also along south-facing dikes and roadsides, on former slag heaps, in gardens,... Males can be found hill-topping.

No pictures yet!