Zerynthia cretica

Cretan Festoon

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Male

Photo: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Female

Field notes and information

Formerly considered as a subspecies of the eastern festoon Z. cerisy it is now more often considered as a species. The two species are clearly very similar. Being geographically isolated on Crete it's not surprising that differences appear, even to the extent of diverging into two species. It's not the only endemic on the island.

Identification & Similar species: On Crete, there are no similar species with black and red markings. It is similar to the eastern festoon Z. cerisy. It is rather smaller and darker. The hindwing is more rounded and lacks a prominent tail.

Distribution & Flight: Endemic to Crete where it is local but widespread across the island from sea level in late March and early April into May (and even June?) at higher levels.

Habitat & Behaviour: Grassy scrubland and open woodland. More active in the morning, being much harder to find in the afternoon. It flies unhurriedly up and down slopes, frequently stopping for nectar and to rest on bushes, grasses and the ground. Easily spotted at the roadside while driving through suitable habitat. I also found one flying over the beach and out to see some 20 or 30m before it turned back to land.

Photo: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Photo: creticaPhoto: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Females

Photo: creticaPhoto: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Males

Photo: creticaPhoto: creticaPhoto: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Habitat of Z. cretica, G. pumilio and P. egea.

Photo: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Female

Photo: creticaPhoto: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Photo: creticaPhoto: creticaPhoto: creticaPhoto: creticaPhoto: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Males

Photo: creticaPhoto: creticaPhoto: creticaPhoto: creticaPhoto: cretica

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Female