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Parnassius phoebus

Fabricius 1793

Name Volgare: Febo

Family: Papilionidae


Front wing length mm. 31-34...

The Parnassius phoebus is a moth which can be considered rare and very localized, with the exception of a few high mountainous locations where there are numerous colonies that are quite numerous (up to two dozen individuals).
The insect is spread in Europe to some parts of the Alps (excluding, among other things, the Carnic Alps) at a height of 1500 m. Up to 2500-3000 m. It is also present, with different subspecies, on the Rocky Mountains of the United States and Central Asia (so far it has been described for the first time by Fabricius in Siberia in 1793).

It is more common at 2000 meters. The colonies are located near streams on whose vegetation shores Saxifraga aizoides, the host plant of larvae, with characteristic yellow flowers. The behavior of the adult is similar to that of P. apollo, except for the habit of spending the night in the thick grass, rather than on the top of the flowers (to feed the adult loves the nectar of the genus Allium).
The larvae, if eggs hatch out in the summer, spend hibernate the winter season, waking up on the days of spring heat.
Ruggero Verity, in his most famous work (The Diurnal Butterflies of Italy) describes the "awakening" of the iced harvest caterpillar. It is "very small winter, among the milled roots of its mulberry plant, was frozen until full stiffness, but, just dissolved ice in a room ..." has revitalized.
According to the author, this species was more ancient than the P. apollo and P. mnemosyne congeners, thus proving unable "after the epochs of glacial, adaptation to milder climates, since he survived only where he could retreat to Alpine masses with glaciers ".
If the species was very localized for nearly seventy years, it is easy to imagine its current status in a period of global warming and anthropic intervention even at high altitudes (rhyming, intensive livestock grazing, etc.); Chinery already defined it as "vulnerable" in 1989, ie in decline across the entire distribution area.
In Switzerland, its area has been reduced by at least 500% in recent decades; Seems to have disappeared from several Italian locations such as the Lessini Mountains and the Crocedomini Pass. Even in the very popular Venetian side of the Passo del Pordoi, the species seems to have disappeared for a few years, probably thanks to the incarnation of a torrent.
It is unwise to think that the colonies that have become threatened within a few decades (including collectors, always fewer in flight) have been present in these places for thousands of years, starting with the stabilization of the climate in the post-glacial period.
Inexplicably, butterfly is not protected by Italian and Community legislation; This at par with another moth, if possible, even more threatened, the Papilio alexanor.

Male: translucent white color with black spots. Subcostal stain on the generally centered front of red. Two red round spots, white pupils and blackened in the back wings.

Female: Similar to male but generally larger, with greyish areas and larger red spots

Reverse: Similar to straight

Bruco: black with yellow or orange light dots and i, pupa in a free cocoon placed under the rock or vegetal layers.

Distribution: Alps

Habitat: alpaca species, is found in the meadows and along the crevices of the mountain and cacuminal plan, from 1500 to about 2800 meters s.l.m.

Annual Generations: Adults flicker between June and August (depending on quota) in a single generation.


Nursery plants: Saxifraga aizoides, Saxifraga calycina, Saxifraga nivalis, Rhodiola rosea, Sedum album, Sedum sp., Sempervivum montanum, Sempervivum tectorum.

Fis2, pierrefonds, COSTANTINO, ikeharel, ChrisJ, Ilonka1974, ktanska, foxy, mcmtanyel ha puntuado esta nota como útil.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 18842 W: 130 N: 39795] (212827)
  • Genre: Lugares
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2021-07-23
  • Exposición: f/0.9, 30 segundos
  • Versión de la foto: Versión original
  • Date Submitted: 2021-07-24 11:55
  • Favoritos: 3 [Ver]
Viewed: 0
Points: 34
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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 18842 W: 130 N: 39795] (212827)
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