Macleay's Swallowtail

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Macleay's Swallowtail
Graphium macleayanus.jpg
Macleay's Swallowtail (Graphium macleayanus moggana), Franklin – Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae
Genus: Graphium
Species: G. macleayanus
Binomial name
Graphium macleayanus
Leach, 1814[1]
Graphium macleayanus range.png
Range of Macleay's Swallowtail
      G. m. moggana;       G. m. macleayanus

The Macleay's Swallowtail (Graphium macleayanus) is a butterfly belonging to the family Papilionidae. The species was named after Alexander Macleay.[2][3]


Macleay's swallowtail was first described by William Elford Leach in 1814. Two subspecies are recorded in Australia,[1] the nominate form, G. m. macleayanus and G. m. moggana, which was first described by Leonard Edgar Couchman in 1965.[4] The name is synonymous with Papilio macleayanus.



The caterpillar grows to a length of 4 cm. The pupa is green with thin yellow lines.

The adult female Macleay's swallowtail has a wingspan of 59mm, whilst the adult male has a wingspan of 53mm.[5] The upside of the wings is green with white markings and black edges.[6] The lower surface is a deeper green with black, brown and white markings.[6] The lower wings are strongly tailed.[7]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Macleay's swallowtail is one of the most widely distributed swallowtail butterflies in Australia.[8] It is found in Eastern Australia including the ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. It is the only swallowtail found in Tasmania.[9] The species has also been found on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island, but not since 1893.[1] The habitat of the species includes urban areas, forests, woodlands and heath.[10]


The caterpillars are green, with small white dots all over the body and a humped thorax. They feed on the foliage of members in the Atherosperma, Cinnamomum, Cryptocarya, Daphnandra, Doryphora, Endiandra and Tasmannia genera.[11]

The adults feed on nectar from flowers, including the genera Leptospermum, Lantana and Buddleia.[5] The flight period is from August to March.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Macleay's swallowtail". CSIRO and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 18 September 2004. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  2. ^ Herbison-Evans, Don; Newman, Stewart; Crossley, Stella (5 September 2009). "Graphium macleayanus (Leach, 1814)". Retrieved 3 November 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ Robyn Stacey, Ashley Hay. Museum: the Macleays, their collections and the search for order. Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 9780521874533. 
  4. ^ "Names List for Graphium macleayanus (Leach, 1814)". Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Macleay's Swallowtail ( Graphium macleayanus )". Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "Graphium macleayanus – JCU". Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Tasmanian year book, Issue 11. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Tasmanian Office. 1977. 
  8. ^ Australian natural history, Volume 14. Australian Museum. 1962. 
  9. ^ Charles Barrett, Alexander N. Burns (1951). Butterflies of Australia and New Guinea. N. H. Seward. 
  10. ^ "Macleay's Swallowtail Fact File". Australian Museum. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Host taxa for Graphium macleayanus (Leach, 1814)". Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  12. ^ Daley, Elizabeth (2007). Wings: An introduction to Tasmania's winged insects. Riffles Pty Ltd. 

External links[edit]