Zerynthia cassandra

Italian Festoon


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
Photo: cassandra5.jpg

Sicily, Italy, May 2018

Photo: cassandra4.jpg

Sicily, Italy, May 2018

Field notes and information

Sometimes accorded specific status, this former subspecies of the southern festoon Z. polyxena shows a lot red. The two taxa can be found together in N Italy supporting the hypothesis that they are different species.

Identification & Similar species: Very close to the southern festoon Z. cretica which it differs from by the amount of red on the upperside - although I think there can be some overlap.

Distribution & Flight: Peninsular Italy and along the coastal hills towards France. Sicily. Local but widespread. Flies in April and May.

Habitat & Behaviour: I've only very limited experience of this species. To all intents and purposes it has the same habitat preferences as the southern festoon Z. polyxena and the same behaviour too. Hot dry grassy flowery meadows, in hills and rough ground.

Photo: cassandra1.jpg

Sicily, Italy, May 2018

Photo: cassandra6.jpg

Modena, Italy, April 2018

Larva, copyright Riccardo Polino (thanks for sharing the photo!).

Photo: cassandra3.jpgPhoto: cassandra2.jpg

Sicily, Italy, May 2018

Photo: cassandra9.jpgPhoto: cassandra8.jpg

Sicily, Italy, May 2000

Photo: cassandra7.jpgPhoto: cassandra10.jpg

Sicily, Italy, May 2000