Xuthus Swallowtail | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Xuthus Swallowtail

The Xuthus Swallowtail, also known as the Chinese Yellow Swallowtail, is a striking butterfly species.

Xuthus Swallowtail Overview


It displays a vibrant appearance with bright yellow wings adorned with bold black stripes and spots. The wings are elongated and taper to a graceful point. The hindwings often feature a series of blue crescent-shaped markings. This butterfly’s captivating coloration and graceful wing shape make it a remarkable sight in the world of butterflies.

Origins And Evolution

The origins and evolution of the Xuthus Swallowtail, scientifically known as Papilio xuthus, trace back to the family Papilionidae, one of the oldest butterfly families. Fossil records indicate the presence of swallowtail butterflies dating back to the Eocene epoch, around 34-56 million years ago.

The Xuthus Swallowtail, specifically, has likely evolved over millions of years, adapting to various ecosystems and climates in East Asia. This species has demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability, resulting in its widespread distribution across the region. Its evolutionary journey underscores the intricate dynamics of butterfly adaptation.

Behavior and Lifestyle

The Xuthus Swallowtail, or Chinese Yellow Swallowtail, exhibits distinctive behaviors and a unique lifestyle. These butterflies are diurnal, active during the day, and are often observed gracefully fluttering among flowers.

They are nectar feeders, seeking out a variety of blooming plants for sustenance. During the mating season, males engage in territorial behavior to court females. The Xuthus Swallowtail is known for its migratory habits, covering substantial distances during seasonal migrations in search of suitable breeding and feeding grounds.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Genus: Papilio
  • Species: Papilio xuthus

Xuthus Swallowtail Locations

  • East Asia
  • China
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Russia (Primorsky Krai region)

Fast Facts

  • Name: Xuthus Swallowtail, Chinese Yellow Swallowtail
  • Scientific Name: Papilio xuthus
  • Habitat: Various habitats in East Asia, including forests, gardens, and urban areas.
  • Diet: Nectar from a wide range of flowering plants; caterpillars typically feed on citrus leaves.
  • Physical Features: Bright yellow wings with bold black stripes and spots, elongated wings with tapering tips, blue crescent-shaped markings on hindwings.
  • Nocturnal: Diurnal, active during the day.
  • Solitary: Typically solitary, but may interact during mating and territorial behavior.
  • Unique Order: Belongs to the order Lepidoptera, which includes butterflies and moths.
  • Lifespan: The lifespan varies but generally ranges from a few weeks to a few months.
  • Conservation Status: Not assessed as a species, but local populations may face threats due to habitat loss and climate change.
  • Fun Facts: The Xuthus Swallowtail is known for its striking appearance and is a popular subject in butterfly watching and photography. Caterpillars are known for their unique defense mechanism called “osmeterium,” where they emit a foul odor to deter predators.

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Bright yellow wings with black stripes and spots
  • Skin Type: Insects with exoskeletons
  • Top Speed: Not precisely documented but generally flies at moderate speeds.
  • Lifespan: Varies from a few weeks to a few months
  • Weight: Around 1 gram.
  • Length: Approximately 7 to 10 centimeters (2.75 to 3.9 inches).
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: Typically reached in a few weeks to a couple of months
  • Age of Weaning: Not applicable

Xuthus Swallowtail FAQs

How long do swallowtail caterpillars eat?

Swallowtail caterpillars typically spend several weeks continuously eating to fuel their growth before pupating and transforming into butterflies.

How long does it take for a swallowtail caterpillar to turn into a butterfly?

A swallowtail caterpillar takes about 10 to 14 days to transform into a butterfly, depending on factors like species and environmental conditions.

How do you protect a swallowtail caterpillar?

Protect swallowtail caterpillars by providing host plants, avoiding pesticides, and offering sheltered areas. Limit disturbances during pupation to ensure their safety.

How does a swallowtail lay eggs?

A female swallowtail butterfly lays eggs on suitable host plants. She attaches them to the leaves using a special adhesive, typically one egg per leaf, ensuring they have a food source upon hatching.

Where did the swallowtail plant come from?

The Swallowtail Plant, also known as Papilio Ulysses or the Ulysses Butterfly, is native to the tropical rainforests of northern Australia and parts of Southeast Asia.

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