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Swallowtail Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)

The swallowtail moth is a member of the family of geometer moths. It is widespread in Europe but is hard to spot because of its nocturnal habits.

Swallowtail Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Geometridae
  • Genus: Ourapteryx
  • Scientific Name: Ourapteryx sambucaria

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

Gray-brown in color, the larva is covered with a succession of scarcely visible longitudinal lines. It looks like a twig.

Swallowtail Moth Caterpillar

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Swallowtail Moth Larvae

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Pupa

The larvae pupate inside a cocoon made of dry leaves.

Swallowtail Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When opened, they range from yellow to white, covered with dark lines. When closed, the patterns remain visible.

Hindwing: When open, brownish spots are visible near the base. When closed, the spots remain hidden.

Average wingspan: 50–62 mm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: June-July

Ourapteryx sambucaria

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Egg

Eggs are orange, with 16 ridges present longitudinally and traverse lines between them.

Swallowtail Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionEurope and the near East
HabitatGardens, hedgerows, parks, scrubs, and woodrows
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsPrimarily Ivy; also  elder, hawthorn, and honeysuckle
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus first described this species in the 10th edition of his book Systema Naturae in 1758.
Swallowtail Moth Picture

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Swallowtail Moth Image

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