The Corsican swallowtail is one of the over 200 fluted swallowtail butterfly species and only found on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia in the Mediterranean sea. Its colorations are black and yellow, and it has a wingspan of to three inches. There is a small red eye-like spot on its wings, and the tail is small and tapered. Swallowtails differ from all other butterflies in a number of anatomical traits, such as the unique organ that they posses behind their heads as caterpillars, called the "osmeterium." It is normally hidden and out of view, but when the caterpillar feels threatened by predators, it is used to emit a foul smell. Swallowtails also generally have tails on their hind wings and are migratory.
The Corsican swallowtail prefers forest located in the mountains above 2000 feet for its habitat. Swallowtails generally feed on the leaves of trees and flowers and lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. As caterpillars this species feeds on carrots and fennel. They become butterflies between May and June and remain active until August. Usually, two broods are generated each year.
The Corsican swallowtail is threatened by collecting by commercial collectors who capture and sell the specimens for money. It is also threatened by loss of habitat and the destruction of its main host plant (by farmers) which is considered poisonous to livestock. This species is listed as endangered, but is not effectively protected in Corsica, and there are very little or no efforts to protect the Sardinian population either.
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Corsican Swallowtail Facts Last Updated:
May 9, 2017
To Cite This Page:
Glenn, C. R. 2006. "Earth's Endangered Creatures - Corsican Swallowtail Facts" (Online).
Accessed 6/16/2019 at http://earthsendangered.com/profile.asp?sp=49&ID=8.
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