Distribution: in Britain restricted entirely to the Norfolk Broads. Widespread and fairly common throughout Europe, Africa, Asia.
Habitat: wetlands such as fens and marshes.
Description: black and creamy-yellow with red-and-blue false 'eye'. Extensions on hind-wings. Caterpillars are green, black and orange.
Size: wingspan 95mm.
Life-span: adult lives for one month.
Food: caterpillars will only eat the foliage of a group of plants called umbellifers - a group that includes carrot, fennel and angelica, but they show a marked preference for milk parsley. Adults feed on nectar from a variety of flowers.
The swallowtail is Britain's largest and most exotic butterfly. Its name refers to the extensions on the hind-wings which look rather like a swallow's tail. These 'tails' and false 'eyes' on the hind-wing mimic the head and antennae (feelers) of the butterfly. This confuses birds as to the true head of their prey and gives the swallowtail a better chance of escaping. Sadly, this beautiful butterfly is extremely rare in Britain.Read More: Swallowtail Habits