Parnassius mnemosyne (Clouded Apollo, Schwarzer Apollo, Le semi-apollon)

Parnassius mnemosyne, also called Clouded Apollo or Schwarzer Apollo is a rare butterfly from Palaearctic ecozone (Europe). The first description was in 1758 by Linnaeus. With a wingspan of 5.0 – 6.0 cm the Clouded Apollo is a small member of the family PAPILIONIDAE. The wings are transparent with black spots.

Photos for easy identification

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer; 03.05.2009
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer 03.05.2009
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer 03.05.2009
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer 03.05.2009
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer 03.05.2009

These are nice photos of Parnassius mnemosyne (Clouded Apollo, Schwarzer Apollo, Le semi-apollon). Parnassius mnemosyne is a member of the family PAPILIONIDAE from Palaearctic (Europe).


The forewings are whitish and transparent and have two black spots. There are some black veins.
The underside is a copy of upside.

The hind wings are whitish and transparent. In the middle of the wing there is one black spot and some black veins.  There is a dark zone around the body.
The underside  is a copy of upside.

The body is black and very hairy. The hairs are white.

Sex differences: None


The Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne) is a rare butterfly of the Palaearctic ecozone (Europe and Asia) without the North of Africa. The distribution extend from  Europe to Russia, Kazakhstan and Iran.
You can see the Clouded Apollo until 1500 m sea level.

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

Flight period

The flight period of the Clouded Apollo is from May - July.

Larval food

Corydalis solida, Corydalis bulbosa, Fumaria bulbosa

General information

The first description of this butterfly was in 1758 by Linnaeus. Because of the high variability of this species, there are many subspecies.

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

The distribution of Clouded Apollo overlap with the distributions of Small Apollo (Parnassius phoebus) and Black-veined white (Aporia crataegi)
The following differentiators are very useful to differ these similar species.

Protection provisions / Red List

Similar and closely-related species

Aporia crataegi [Linnaeus, 1758] (Black-veined white, Baumweißling, Le Gazé)

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

Parnassius apollo [Linnaeus, 1758] (Apollo, Apollo, l'Apollon)

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

Scientific name

Parnassius mnemosyne Linnaeus 1758


Clouded Apollo
Schwarzer Apollo
Le semi-apollon
Blanca de Asso
Mnemosynefjäril, Nunneapollo
Zwarte apollovlinder
Clouded apollo
Niepylak mnemozyna
Jasoň dymnivkový
Jasoň chochlačkový

Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree

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



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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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