Location: Guérande, France
Date: April 27, 2018
Yesterday Monique and her sister Michele from France visited for coffee and Michele asked about this lovely butterfly, which we identified as an Old World Swallowtail, Papilio machaon, though the common name is just Swallowtail according to the Butterflies of Britain & Europe where it states: “Papilio machaon is widespread and common throughout much of the northern hemisphere. It occurs over the whole of continental Europe, eastward across temperate Asia to Japan; in Africa north of the Sahara; and throughout much of North America. In Britain it is locally common on the Norfolk Broads, an area of fenland and lakes in eastern England.
Individuals originating from France occasionally migrate across the English Channel and have been periodically recorded in Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex and the Isle of Wight, but such sightings are very rare – perhaps one or two sightings per year. Genuine migrants can usually be recognised by their faded and worn appearance. Fresh looking insects seen anywhere apart from Norfolk can be attributed to escaped or deliberately released livestock – both the British subspecies brittanicus and the continental gorganus are commonly reared by hobbyists. ( it is illegal to capture or breed stock of British origin, but nevertheless a widespread practice ).
There are no similar species occurring in Britain.“