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The Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) is a Palearctic swallowtail butterfly found in gardens, fields and open woodlands. First described by Linnaeus in 1758, it is found in places with sloe thickets and particularly orchards. It is also called Sail Swallowtail or Pear-tree Swallowtail. The Southern Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthamelii), is sometimes treated as a subspecies. Despite the name ('scarce'), this swallowtail is quite common.
It is widespread throughout Europe with the exception of the northern parts. Its range extends northwards to Saxony and central Poland and eastwards across Asia Minor and Transcaucasia as far as the Arabian peninsula, India, and western China. The scarcity of UK migrants is responsible for the English common name. In the Alps it can be found up to altitudes of 1600 m.