General Description

Adult: Above: Wings black and green with white and green spots, hind wing with a black tail. Beneath: similar to above but with some of the black areas replaced with brown.Wingspan 50 mm. Egg: Pale green, spherical and smooth, 1.2 mm. Larva: Green with tiny yellow spots and two pairs of spines on thorax, 32 mm. Pupa: Green with tiny dark green spots, prominent thoracic horn with yellow ridges extending from the horn to the head and from the horn to end of abdomen, 25 mm.


Macleay's Swallowtail are strong, high flyers. Their wings reverberate rapidly while they feedon flowers. It is the only naturally permanent swallowtail butterfly in Victoria. Other species have expanded their range to Victoria with the planting of citrus or are only occasional migrants. Eggs are generally laid singly on shoots and the underside of young leaves, often on small Sassafras plants growing in mountain forest watercourses. Larvae generally feed on Sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum) but also feed on Mountain Pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata). Larvae are active at night when feeding. During the day larvae are exposed on leaves but are well camouflaged and remain motionless. Pupae are attached by a silken girdle to stems or under leaves. There is generally one generation a year with pupae remaining dormant from autumn until the following spring, although in some years there may be a partial second generation.


North Queensland to Tasmania.


Occurs in high rainfall forests ranging from tropical rainforests in North Queensland to cool rainforests in Tasmania.

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