Parnassius apollo (Apollofalter, l'Apollon, Apollo)

Parnassius apollo, also called Apollo or Apollofalter is a well- known butterfly from Palaearctic ecozone (Europe). The first description was in 1758 by Linnaeus. With a wingspan of 5.0 – 6.0 cm the Apollo is a small member of the family PAPILIONIDAE. The wings are white and partially transparent with black and red spots.

Photos for easy identification

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer (male)
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer (female)
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer (male)
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer (female)
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer (male)
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer (female)

These are nice photos of Parnassius apollo (Apollofalter, l'Apollon, Apollo). Parnassius apollo is a member of the family PAPILIONIDAE from Palaearctic (Europe). 


The forewings are white and transparent at the margin.  There are five big black spots on wings and a black powdered area aroud the body.
The underside is semi matt and a copy of upside.

The hind wings are white. There is a dark powdered zone around the body. At the margin there is a dark band. One little black and two very big red spots with white cores are on the wing.
The underside  is white with some big red spots.

The body is white and very hairy, but the upside is black.

Sex differences: None


The Apollo (Parnassius apollo) is a well known butterfly of the Palaearctic ecozone (Europe and Asia) without the North of Africa. The distribution is insula.
You can see the Apollo until 2000 m sea level.

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

Flight period

The flight period of the Apollo is from July - August.

Larval food

White Sedum

General information

The first description of this butterfly was in 1758 by Linnaeus. The Apollo like low temperature. After the last ice age the distribution break to pieces. Because of the isolation of the population there are many subspecies.

The caterpillar is black with two chains of yellow or orange spots at side. The pupa has a silken cocoon. This species overwinters as egg.

The distribution of Apollo overlap with the distributions of Small Apollo (Parnassius phoebus).
The following differentiators are very useful to differ these similar species.

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer

Here you can see the caterpillar of Parnassius apollo.

Photo © by Rudolf Faustmann

Here you can see the pupa of Parnassius apollo.

Protection provisions / Red List

Similar and closely-related species

Archon apollinus [Herbst, 1789] (False Apollo, Osterluzei-Apollo)

Parnassius phoebus [Fabricius, 1793] (Small Apollo, Hochalpen Apollo)

Parnassius mnemosyne [Linnaeus, 1758] (Clouded Apollo, Schwarzer Apollo, Le semi-apollon)

Scientific name

Parnassius apollo Linnaeus 1758


Niepylak apollo

Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree

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




To the top

Back to family Papilionidae from PALAEARCTIC (EUROPE)


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Inachis io
Nymphalis antiopa
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Vanessa atalanta
Papilio machaon
Pierides sp.
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