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Mountain Apollo

Parnassius apollo


A striking butterfly of mountainous regions of Europe and Central Asia, the Mountain Apollo is listed as Vulnerable, and strictly protected in several countries including Switzerland and France. Found here resting with wet wings on a rainy day.


Sub-alpine meadow, alt. 1800m ASL. The flower is Valeriana officinalis. The foreground on the last picture shows the habitat. The map pin has been moved out of the exact spotting location.


Victim of urbanization, climate change and greedy collectors, the Mountain Apollo has declined and disappeared from some alpine valleys. The eye-spots vary in size and form depending on location and subspecies, and wings are transparent at the edges. Typical of altitude, its range is from 400 metres (1,300 ft) up to 2,300 metres (7,500 ft); it is far more present above 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) where habitats are now more suitable. This species requires specific climatic conditions (cold winter, sunny summer). The presence of the host plant for the caterpillars is critical: stonecrop (Sedum sp.) and houseleek (Sempervivum sp.). Note on identification: differentiating between Apollo and Small Apollo (P. apollo, P. phoebus): absence of a red spot near the apex of the forewing in apollo, and less clearly striped antennae. as seen here.

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DanielePralong 5 years ago

Thanks you Dominik and Dr. Sherpa! Who said you won't see butterflies when it rains :-) I'm still finding a few at altitude; nearing the end of their season their wings become almost transparent.

DrNamgyalT.Sherpa 5 years ago

Daniele, great spotting!

bayucca 5 years ago

Superbe, Daniele!

Spotted by

Vaud, Switzerland

Lat: 46.49, Long: 7.16

Spotted on Jul 2, 2014
Submitted on Aug 21, 2014

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