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Photographer's Note

Dedicated to Luciano Gollini (lousat)

Zerynthia cassandra

Carl Geyer, 1828

Vulgar Name : Cassandra

Family: Papilionidae

Length mm front wing . 23-31

Notes : this species has long been considered a subspecies of Zerynthia polyxena . Only recently ( Nazari & Sperling , 2007) were discovered two genetic lines at the level of mitochondrial DNA. The spread of the two genetic lines follows the existence of two morphotypes at the level of the male genitalia . One of the two morphotypes (Z. polyxena ) is deployed from France to Russia , the other morphotype is restricted peninsular Italy , Sicily and the island of Elba . The two morphotypes are also sympatric in at least one location in Liguria near Mount Beigua without giving rise to intermediate individuals (hybrids) . These findings demonstrate the existence of two species of Zerynthia . In particular, the populations of central and southern must be referred to Zerynthia cassandra representing an element endemic Italian .

A part of the morphology of the male genitalia, Zerynthia cassandra is indistinguishable from Zerynthia polyxena, the identification in this case is geographical .

Papilionide reduced size, with wings yellow background color for a distinctive red spots , marginal lunules very arched and blue submarginal spots. The cell has red spots only in the lower part of the wing. Lack the caudal appendages. The sexes are similar in coloration , but the size of the female is a little bigger.
The Cassandra is one of the most beautiful butterflies in Italian and is unique for its vibrant and strong color , the livery of the wings the color is ivory / yellow patterned blacks cross ( similar to a lace ), while a small row of spots red and blue borders the bottom edge of the hind wings , with a characteristic zig - zag pattern.
The caterpillars feed on various species of aristolochie , perform 5 mute within 4/5 weeks, after which the nymphs , tied to a support , overwinter to flicker in the following spring . The adults are active for no more than 3 weeks . The plants are the suckler aristolochie notoriously toxic ; assimilated by the caterpillars , making it inedible to pass in the adult predators ; therefore , the flashy livery of Polissena assumes the meaning of warning The coloring of the plumage of the adult, yellow , with characteristic drawings blacks , red and blue , is called " aposematica " (ie " cautionary " ) , as it just serves to discourage potential predators . It ' relatively rare species , and the reduction in the marshy areas , and for the consequent disappearance of plants of the genus Aristolochia that feeds the larvae monophagous .

Male : yellow with transverse ribs and large drawings blacks . Submarginal lunule forming a continuous zig- zag pattern . Postdiscale series of red spots semilunar flanked by small blue spaces in the rear .

Female : similar to male but generally larger.

Reverse: whitish color of the back . Similar designs on the obverse but partially colored red .

Caterpillar : Whitish with four sets of reddish growths ( drains ) to apex black .

Distribution: in Centtal – Southern Italy .

Habitat: mesophilic species is found in meadows and glades of the basal plane up to about 1000 meters above sea level

Generations per year : one with a flicker between April and May

Suckler plants : Aristolochia longa, Aristolochia pallida , Aristolochia rotunda.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9209 W: 132 N: 17685] (115145)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2014-04-12
  • Categories: Nature
  • Exposure: f/11, 1/500 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-04-14 5:47
Viewed: 462
Points: 40
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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9209 W: 132 N: 17685] (115145)
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