Macleay's Swallowtail, Graphium macleayanum, is a beautiful butterfly species identified by the tails on its hind wings and the green colour on the undersides of its wings. Most of the butterflies in this family are large in size and with brilliant colours. They are called Swallowtails because some of species have tailed hindwings.
These stunning butterflies often feed on flowers with their wings rapidly vibrating.
Macleay's Swallowtail lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands, and heath.
The Macleay Swallowtail is native to the wetter coastal and mountain parts of eastern Australia, from northern Queensland south to Victoria and Tasmania. It also occurs on Lord Howe Island and in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
The Macleay's Swallowtail is commonly seen in urban Sydney from August to April.
Feeding and diet
The caterpillars of Macleay's Swallowtail have adapted to feed on a variety of plants including the introduced Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora). Their caterpillars eat Sassafras leaves.
Life history cycle
The eggs are round and pale green. They are laid singly on young shoots of a food plant.
The Caterpillar is green with a humped thorax. Initially it has a black hump and a black forked tail. Later it becomes plain green with small white dots over the body, and two narrow yellow lines along the back.
Males congregate around hilltops, where they can be seen defending their territory from rival males and courting passing females