The Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius), is a butterfly found in gardens, fields and open woodlands. It is found in places with sloe thickets and particularly orchards. It is also called Sail Swallowtail or Pear-tree Swallowtail. 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 as far as the Arabian Peninsula, India, and western China. A few specimens of the Scarce Swallowtail have been reported from central Sweden and the UK but they were probably only strays and not migrants.
In some years the Scarce Swallowtail is quite abundant. The Scarce Swallowtail is getting rarer as the blackthorn bushes are being cleared. It is now protected in some central European countries. It is protected by law in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg and Poland. It is considered Rare-Endangered and protected in some provinces of Austria and of status Indeterminate throughout Europe.
The food plant includes hawthorn bushes. The caterpillars spin little pads on leaves and grip them firmly. The newly hatched caterpillar is dark in color with two smaller and two bigger greenish patches on the dorsal side, later they are greenish with yellowish dorsal and side stripes. The summer chrysalids are green as a rule, the hibernating ones are brown. A number of hibernating chrysalids fall prey to various enemies.