A Swallowtail has been reported on Pamphill Moor (ST995006) – seen on 31 May from 12.00-12.15pm. As our native Swallowtail (papilio machaon britannicus) has been shown by research to never ‘migrate’ out of Norfolk, this has to be either a continental Swallowtail (papilio machaon gorganus) or a butterfly released by someone who has bred it. We know there has been a huge influx of migrant birds around 30-31 May, so a continental migrant is not impossible. To know which species it is, we need photos, so if you are in the Wimborne area and see it, please take some shots and send them to us: [email protected]
The only native Swallowtails in the UK are in Norfolk, where their habitat is very actively maintained for them by humans. Their caterpillars feed on milk parsley, which is not present in Dorset, so if some artificially reared specimens have been released, they will not be able to complete their life-cycle by breeding.