N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Parnassius (Driopa) phoebus (Fabricius, 1793)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Papilio phoebus Fabricius, 1793: 181.
Type locality: probably [Kazakhstan], 10–30 km east of Ust-Kamenogorsk (Hanus & Teye 2010).
Type: probably lost in coll. Drury.

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
The following list is based on Häuser et al. (2005) and Savela (2015):

Doritis clarius Eversmann, 1843: 539, pl. 9, f. 1 A-C. Type locality: Kazakhstan-Russia: in promontoriis Altaicis australibus. Junior primary homonym of Doritis clarius Hübner, [1806].
Doritis ariadne Lederer, 1853: 354. Type locality: "an den südwestlichen Vorbergen des Altai an kahlen felsigen Stellen [...] am oberen Irtisch zwischen Ustkamenogorsk und Ustbuchtarminsk gegen die chinesische Grenze zu" [Bukhtarma River sources, Altai]. Junior subjective synonym.
Parnassius clarius var. dentata Austaut, 1889: 149, pl. 21, f. 1-2. Type locality: Kazakhstan, "dans les montagnes de Saisan". Subspecies.
Parnassius clarius ab. medioextincta Bang-Haas, 1927. Type locality: Kazakhstan, "Tarbagatai". Unavailable infrasubspecific name.
Parnassius clarius ab. primopicta Peebles & Bryk, 1931. Type locality: Russia, "Altai-centr". Unavailable infrasubspecific name.
Parnassius ariadne clarus Bryk & Eisner, 1932. Type locality: Russia, "Saur-Gebirge". Subspecies.
Parnassius ariadne jiadengyuensis Huang & Murayama, 1992: 3, f. 3. Type locality: Jiadengyu, Altai Mts, Xinjiang, China, 1380-1700m. Subspecies.
Parnassius phoebus erlik Yakovlev, 2009 comb. n. Type locality: Chikhacheva Mts., Altai, Russia. Subspecies.

In addition to these, Hanus & Teye (2010) list the following unavailable infrasubspecific forms mentioned by Bryk (1935):
novarae Bryk, 1890
eminentissima Haude, 1913
primo et tertiopicta [sic] Bryk & Eisner, 1932
secundorubroanalis Bryk & Eisner, 1932.


: Altai mountains : Altai mountains : Altai mountains : Altai mountains
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
P. phoebus dentata SYNTYPE underside: without data      
Picture from: www.globis.insectis-online.de: Museúm Nationale d´Histoire Naturelle, Paris (CC BY-SA)
Detailed view

Description of adults: (Description from wikipedia 2018): Antenna black; "Cell-spots of forewing elongate-rotundate, deep black; beyond the cell an abbreviated curved macular band and near the vitreous distal edge a similar, but nearly complete and more strongly marked band. Hindwing with two distinct red or yellow ocelli, and two anal spots,bearing sometimes red pupils; abdominal margin black grey. Female more strongly marked than male, the middle band of forewing prolonged. This band sometimes marked as strongly as, or more strongly than, the submarginal band, the hindwing bearing near the edge a distinct band of arcs or halfmoons, which appear sometimes also in the male this form being described as dentata. Underside without red basal spots."


The species is known from Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and Russia (Häuser et al. 2005, Hanus & Teye 2010), from the Altai and surrounding mountain ranges, which are the Saur and Tarbagatai mountains. The vertical distribution ranges from about 300 to 2000 m a.s.l. (wikipedia 2018).


"Adults fly on open flowery slopes in the forest zone up to 1,800-2,000 m in the Altai. In Saur and Tarbagatai, the insect is also found at lower altitudes (down to 300 m), preferring stony slopes and canyons. The flight period is May to July" (wikipedia 2018).

Stages in development:

Egg. The species hibernates in the egg state or as newly hatched larva (wikipedia 2018).

Larva. Following Savela (2015), the larva feeds on Corydalis sp., especially Corydalis nobilis.


P. phoebus : Altai mountains P. clodius incredibilis ?: St. Eli Pic/Ex Coll. H. J. Elwes, 1920/Ex Coll. Hill Museum 1931/Type P.T. Mr 7366, coll. Ulster Museum    
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Robert Nash (CC-BY-2.5)
Detailed view

Due to its almost quadrangulate red spots on the hindwings, the species is quite distinctive. Otherwise, it is quite similar to P. clodius from North America.


Chromosome number (haploid): unknown

Worth knowing:


Bryk, F. 1935. Lepidoptera, Parnassiidae. Pars II (Subfam. Parnassiinae). In: Das Tierreich 65. — Berlin (Walter de Gruyter), li + 790 pp.
Fabricius, J. C. 1793. Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta. Tom. III Pars I. — Hafniae (C. G. Proft), V + 488 pp.
Hanus, J. & M.-L. Teye 2010. Parnassius phoebus (Fabricius, 1793), a misidentified species (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae). Nachrichten des entomologischen Vereins Apollo, neue Folge 31 (1/2): 71-84.
Häuser, C. L., J. Holstein & A. Steiner 2005. The Global Butterfly Information System. http://www.globis.insects-online.de. Last updated 14.04.2011 [online 04 August 2015].
Savela, M. 2015. Lepidoptera and some other life forms. Parnassius Latreille, 1804. - available at: http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/sci/bio/life/insecta/lepidoptera/ditrysia/papilionoidea/papilionidae/parnassiinae/parnassius/ [online 04 August 2015].
Wikipedia contributors. Parnassius ariadne. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. May 5, 2018, 19:23 UTC. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Parnassius_ariadne&oldid=839801248. [online 2018.08.28]

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2012.03.09
Kurz Michael: 2013.01.16
Kurz Michael: 2013.01.29
Kurz Michael: 2015.08.04
Kurz Michael: 2018.08.28
not reviewed