Home / Geometer Moths (Geometridae) / Swallowtail Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)

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


Scientific Classification

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

Description and Identification


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

Swallowtail Moth Caterpillar


Swallowtail Moth Larvae



The larvae pupate inside a cocoon made of dry leaves.

Swallowtail Moth Pupa


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



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

Swallowtail Moth Eggs


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


Swallowtail Moth Image


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