Distribution: The Alps of France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria.
Identification: Large white butterfly with distinctive red and black
rings. Similar only to the Apollo, P. apollo, with which it can fly
differing in two ways:
red marks on forewings near apex
boldly striped black and white antennae
Refer to the Apollo, P. apollo, for more
details of identification.
Flight time: July is the best time for fresh specimens, flying into
Habitat: Usually grassy places in the shelter of gulleys, cliffs or,
at lower levels, at the edges of woodland. Generally at higher levels around
2000-2200m but I've seen it as low as 1600m (single records) and upto 2400m (can
be common). Larvae feed on Yellow Mountain Saxifrage, Saxifraga aizoides.
Behaviour: Similar to the Apollo, their flight is not particularly
graceful or strong but if disturbed can move very quickly with powerful strokes
of their large wings. Also similarly graceless when "crashing" into flowers to
Switzerland, July 2007
Striped antennae but no red on the forewing.