Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Adults. Wingspan 40–66 mm; the fringes conspicuously light-and-dark banded. Slender-bodied to medium built; short-bodied. The eyes glabrous. Antennae reaching noticeably less than halfway to the wingtips. The antennal clubs gradual-elongate; slightly curved to not curved. Labial palps ascending (appressed to frons). Having all 6 legs fully developed and operational for walking. Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs without spurs. Posterior tibiae 2-spurred.

Forewings. Forewings apically blunt. The outer margins slightly convexly curved to more or less straight. Uppersides of the forewings yellow; contrastingly dark-veined; ambiguously with a conspicuous discal mark (represented by one of the black bands extending to the costa); with black or black and red transverse coalescent spotting and black and yellow scalloping along the outer margin.

Hindwings. Hindwings broadly rounded (the inner margin concave); not tailed; with the outer margins scalloped. Uppersides of the hindwings dark along the inner margin, with median black spotting, scalloped black outer marginal lines, and a row of red spots internal to these; conspicuously dark-veined; conspicuously patterned. Uppersides of the hindwings eye-spotted. The eye-spots 6–7; near the mid-costa, posterior towards the apex, mid-posterior, and near the tornus. Uppersides of the hindwings without a discal mark; ground-coloured and conspicuously veined like the forewings, with a subterminal row of red spots, and a conspicuous deeply sinuous black line around the termen.

Undersides of wings. Undersides of the forewings conspicuously dark-veined.

Undersides of the hindwings conspicuously dark-veined; eye-spotted (cf. the uppersides). The eye-spots 6–7; near the mid-costa, posterior towards the apex, mid-posterior, and near the tornus.

Wing venation. Forewings 13 veined. Forewings with 2 tubular anal veins; the anal veins of the forewings comprising 1a and 1b; vein 1b simple.

Hindwings 8 veined; with a praecostal spur; with 1 anal vein, or with 2 anal veins (?); lacking vein 1a; the anal veins representing 1b only. 7 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins 3+4 proximally joined (connate only).

Eggs, larvae, pupae. Eggs sub-globular (?). The larvae with a pair of tentacles from segment 2 (these retractile); exposed feeders. On Aristolochia.

Pupae smooth and rounded (cylindro-conical); without shining-metallic markings; exposed, with no coccoon; not suspended, but attached at the tail and secured by a median girdle of silk.

British representation. 2 species (adventives). Zerynthia polyxena (Southern Festoon), Z. rumina (Spanish Festoon). The adults abroad May (?).

Status in Britain. Adventive (Z. rumina supposedly found in Brighton in 1877, and Z. polyxena near Exeter in 1884).

Distribution. Southeast England and southwest England. Habitats calcareous and non-calcareous.

Comments. Flight brisk and irregular.

Classification. Superfamily Papilionoidea. Papilionidae.

Illustrations. • Zerynthia polyxena (Southern Festoon): Hübner. • Zerynthia polyxena (Southern Festoon) and Zerynthia rumina (Spanish Festoon): From Hübner, 1805.. • Zerynthia rumina (Spanish Festoon: Kirby, 1907). • Larva and pupa of Z. polyxena: Duponchel (1849). • Larvae and pupa of Z. rumina: Duponchel (1849). • Papilionidae: larvae of Papilio, Parnassius and Zerynthia (Le Cerf & Herbulot).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies. Version: 16th May 2016.’.