Zerynthia cerisy

Eastern Festoon


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Kozani, Greece, May 2004

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Kozani, Greece, May 2004

Field notes and information

A large distinctive pale cream coloured butterfly found in southeast Europe in spring in towns and countryside alike. I've only ever found it in very low numbers, although several correspondants have found it to be the commonest butterfly on the wing in places.

Identification & Similar species: Very distinctive and unlikely to be confused with any other species.

Distribution & Flight: Southern Balkans and the Greek Islands and Cyprus in April and May with stragglers surviving into July.

Habitat & Behaviour: Scrub, towns, cultivation where the larval food plant Aristolochia (birthworts) can grow in distrubed areas.

Variation: Variations in the yellowness of the ground colour, the size of the individuals and the extent of black markings are frequent.

The taxon cretica from Crete, Greece was formerly considered a subspecies of this species. It is now generally considered a separate species.

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Kozani, Greece, May 2004

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Cyprus, April 2002

The butterflies from Cyprus are yellower than those from Greece.

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Lesbos, Greece, April 2005 (m)

Underside of the Lesbian butterfly appears similar to the Greek mainland butterflies. This is the only one we found in the first half of April.