Zerynthia polyxena

Southern Festoon

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: polyxena

Var, France, April 2007

Photo: polyxena

Kozani, Greece, May 2004

Yellow female form ochracea

Field notes and information

This group of butterflies is very distinctive with gaudy dazzle camouflage.

Identification & Similar species: The dazzle markings are highly distinctive. There is only one other butterfly with similar extreme markings in Europe - the Spanish Festoon, Z. rumina. The ranges of the two species overlap in southeast France.

Distribution & Flight: SE France, Italy and eastwards to Slovakia and Greece covering all the Balkans. It is usually in some numbers when found. It is an early spring butterfly, found in April and May.

Habitat & Behaviour: In the south and at lower altitudes, hot dry places. In mountains and further from the coast, grassy herb rich meadows. I've found it once at around 1500m in Greece, but mostly it is below around 1000m. Larvae feed on Aristolochiae (birthworts).

Variation: cassandra: subspecies from peninsula Italy and Sicily, this is occasionally treated as a separate species based on differences in male genetalia. It appears to be darker than the nominal form.ochracea:form: females with a rich mustard yellow ground colour

Photo: polyxena

Var, France, April 2004

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SE Serbia, June 2012

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Var, France, May 2012

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Kozani, Greece, May 2004

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SE Serbia, June 2012

Larval food plant.

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Var, France, April 2006

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Var, France, April 2004

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Provence, France, April 2004, (f)

Photo: polyxena

Kozani, Greece, May 2004, (f)

The orange yellow form ochracea is only found in the female.

Photo: polyxena

Var, France, April 2007

Photo: polyxena

Kozani, Greece, May 2004

Photo: polyxena

Var, France, April 2006

Photo: polyxena

Var, France, April 2006

Photo: polyxena

Var, France, April 2004