Zerynthia polyxena (Southern Festoon, Osterluzeifalter, La Diane)

Zerynthia polyxena, also called Southern Festoon or Osterluzeifalter is a very  charming butterfly from Palaearctic ecozone (Europe). The first description was in 1775 by Denis & Schiffermüller. With a wingspan of 4.5 – 5.5 cm the Southern Festoon is a small member of the family PAPILIONIDAE. The butterfly is yellow with black, red and blue spots and a black sinuous line at the margin.


Photos for easy identification

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 28.04.2007
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 10.05.2009
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 28.04.2007
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 28.04.2007

These are nice photos of Zerynthia polyxena (Southern Festoon, Osterluzeifalter, La Diane). Zerynthia polyxena is a member of the family PAPILIONIDAE from Palaearctic (Europe).


Description

The forewings are yellow with many black spots. There are a black band and a black sinuous line at the margin. The viens are black. There is a black area around the body.
The underside is white to yellowish with many black and red spots. There is a red and black sinuous line at the margin. The viens are dark.

The hind wings are yellow. There is a black area around the body. In the middle of the wing there are some black spot. There are a chain of red spots and a chain of little blue spots going backwards.  At the margin there is a black sinuous line.
The underside is white to yellowish. It is a copy of upside, but there are some differences. Some spots and also the sinuous line are red.

The body is black, but the side is whitish with red spots.

Sex differences: None


Distribution

The Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena) is a very charming butterfly of the Palaearctic ecozone (Europe and Asia). The distribution extend from the South of Europe to Kazakhstan and Pakistan.
Because of the rarity of larval food, the Southern Festoon are not common.


This world map shows the ecozones in which this butterfly is distributed.

Flight period

The flight period of the Southern Festoon is from April to May.


Larval food

Aristolochiaceen:

  • Aristolochia clematitis
  • Aristolochia debilis
  • Aristolochia kaempferi
  • Aristolochia pistolochia
  • Aristolochia rotunda
  • Aristolochia sicula
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 28.04.2007

General information

The first description of this butterfly was in 1775 by Denis & Schiffermüller. Because of the very high variability of this species, there are many subspecies.

The caterpillar is withe with many black and orange thorny warts. The pupa has a silken girdl. This species overwinters as pupa.
The number and position of the red spots are very variable like Parnassius apollo [Linnaeus, 1758] (Apollo, Apollofalter, l´Apollon).

The distribution of Southern Festoon overlap with the distributions of Spanisch Festoon (Zerynthia rumina)
The following differentiators are very useful to differ these similar species. 

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 28.04.2007
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 28.04.2007

Here you can see some eggs of Zerynthia polyxena.

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see the caterpillar of Zerynthia polyxena.


Protection provisions / Red List

Similar and closely-related species

Allancastria cerisyi [Godart, 1824] (Eastern Festoon, Östliche Osterluzeifalter)

Zerynthia rumina [Linnaeus, 1758] (Spanish Festoon, Westlicher Osterluzeifalter)


Scientific name

Zerynthia polyxena Denis & Schiffermüller 1775


Synonym

 Southern Festoon
 Osterluzeifalter
 La Diane
Zuidelijke pijpbloemvlinder
 Zygzakowiec kokornakowiec
Pestrokřídlec podražcový
Pestroň vlkovcovový


Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree

To the family tree (Genus: ZERYNTHIA)...


Ecozone

PALAEARCTIC (Europe)

 

To the top

Back to family Papilionidae from PALAEARCTIC (EUROPE)

 

Apatura iris
Inachis io
Nymphalis antiopa
Apatura iris
Vanessa atalanta
Papilio machaon
Pierides sp.
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