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Apollo (Parnassius apollo)

Apollo Butterfly

The Apollo is a very large butterfly that is a typical mountain species. They are known for their bright, neat appearance with two pairs of white wings and a white hairy body. This species is particularly interesting to the entomologists and butterfly lovers due to the variety of subspecies. The Apollo butterflies are found around the world in at least 23 different subspecies.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Genus: Parnassius
  • Common names: Mariposa Apollo
  • Scientific Name: Parnassius apollo

Description and Identification


Apollo Butterfly Caterpillar

The larvae are velvety blue-black having small orange spots all over.


Apollo Butterfly Pupa framepool.com framepool.com

When the caterpillars are fully grown, they pupate on the ground weaving a loose cocoon around themselves, inside which they metamorphose to emerge as adult butterflies after metamorphosis. The pupa is white with fine, black venation-like patterns.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: The females are larger than the males.

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, large black spots on the forewings and red eye-spots on the hind wings upon a pure white to cream background can be seen. When the wings are closed, the ventral side of the wings display similar patterns but are relatively fader than the dorsal side. However, appearance might largely vary between individuals, depending upon subspecies. The red patches often keep fading with time, in the intense sunlight. Hence, the eye-spots in the older individuals begin to appear orange. The sides of the wings are somewhat translucent.

Adult Apollo Butterfly

Parnassius Apollo

Average wingspan: Males are 62–86 mm (2.4–3.4 in), and females are 65–95 mm (2.6–3.7 in).

Flight pattern: Varies between subspecies


Apollo Butterfly Eggs pyrgus.de

Eggs are laid individually and are shiny or pearl white in color with a texture resembling the tip of young corn.

Quick Facts

Distribution Have many subspecies around the world in Asia and Europe, including countries like India, Iran, Spain, Pakistan, Turkey
Habitat Different populations prefer different landforms like flowery alpine meadows, valleys, hills and mountains, and nearby pastures
Lifespan of adults Varies between geographic location and different subspecies
Host plants Stonecrop (Sedum species) and houseleek (Sempervivum species)
Adult diet Flower nectar

Did You Know?

  • The ‘Apollo Butterfly’ gets its name in the classical tradition for the Roman and Greek Olympian solar deity Apollo.

Apollo Butterfly Images

Apollo Butterfly Pictures

Mariposa Apollo

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Genus: Parnassius
  • Common names: Mariposa Apollo
  • Scientific Name: Parnassius apollo