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

Archon apollinus (Herbst, 1798)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Papilio apollinus Herbst, 1798: 156-158
Type locality: Turkey, Izmir, Ourlac
Type: none designated

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Papilio pythius Esper, 1805
Papilio thia Hübner, 1806
Archon apollinus armeniaca Sheljuzhko, 1925
Archon apollinus forsteri Koçak, 1977
Archon apollinus lichyi Carbonell & Brevignon, 1983
Archon apollinus nikodemusi Stüning & Wagener, 1989
Archon apollinus var. nocticolor Stichel, 1907
Archon apollinus wageneri Koçak, 1976
Archon apollinus wyatti Koçak, 1976
Doritis apollinus var. amasina Staudinger, 1901
Doritis apollinus var. bellargus Staudinger, 1892
Doritis apollinus var. rubra Staudinger, 1892

False Apollo
Falscher Apollo


, race krystallina: Israel, Jerusalem, 1929.04, coll. Ulster Museum , race amasina: Turkey, Amasya, coll. Philip Perceval Graves ssp. bellargus : Lebanon, Beirut, coll. Philip Perceval Graves , f. rubra: Turkey, Aintab, coll. Ulster Museum
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Nash Robert (creative commons)
Detailed view
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Nash Robert (creative commons)
Detailed view
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Nash Robert (creative commons)
Detailed view
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Nash Robert (Creative commons)
Detailed view

(based on published pictures): Forewing length: 24 - 30 mm. Wings more or less transparent; forewing upperside with numerous little black streaks, two bigg black spots in the center and at the end of the cell, as well as a row of black spots in the submarginal area; outer margin grey; with additional postdiscal red spots near costa and, sometime, at tornus; hindwing upperside dark grey at the inner margin from base to about 1/2, otherwise with a more or less whitish to yellowish ground colour; outer margin light grey, submarginal area with 6 black spots between the veins, centered blue; these spots proximally bordered reddish to red, sometimes prominent; basal half of the wing sometimes with a reddish tinge; underside similar to the upperside.

The normally is darker with better contrasting markings and a greyish mottling also on the hind wing upperside. Variability in the intensity of grey mottling, ground colouration and other wing markings has led to the description of several "local" races. Most, if not all of them however, should be regarded as infrasubspecific, since the variabilty between sexes and between individuals within one and the same population may often exceed the differences between races (see also De Freina 1985). On the other hand, a significant genetic divergence (2.7 %) has been found in an 825 bp long segment of subunit I of cytochrome oxidase between turkish and israelian populations (Nazari & Sperling 2007), so that we keep Archon apollinus bellargus Staudinger, 1892 as a separate subspecies for the time being.


The species inhabits northeastern Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel, as well as some of the islands in the Aegean Sea (e.g. Lesbos, Samos, Chios or Kós) (see Häuser 2006, De Prins 2004, Tolman & Lewington 1998, Olivier 2000, Katbeh-Bader, Amr & Isma´el 2003). Records from southeastern Bulgaria most probably refer to artificial introduction. Nowadays, the species is absent from Bulgaria (Tolman & Lewington, 1998, De Prins, 2004). Records for Ródos are probably based on missidentified larvae or are unconfirmed (Coutsis & Chavalás 2006). The vertical distribution reaches from sea level to about 1200 m a.s.l. (Kurz & Kurz 2011).


Archon apollinus bellargus Staudinger, 1892: Israel, Haifa, Zichron Yaakov, 2006.02.27      
Picture from: © Zeller Christof
Detailed view

Following Tolman & Lewington (1998), the animals inhabit warm, often rocky places, which mostly bear some shrubs or open woods. Secondarily, the species may be found in olive groves and vineyards. The animals are on the wing in one generation from mid march to mid april, although in their southern range they may sometimes occur also as early as December. Agrypon polyxenae (Szépligeti) has been recorded as a koinobiont larval-pupal endoparasitoid of A. apollinus (Shaw et al. 2009).

Stages in development:

Larva: without data, 2009.07.04      
Picture from: www.flickr.com: dmott9 (creative commons)
Detailed view

Early stages following Tolman & Lewington (1998):

The eggs are light green and are deposited at the leaves of the foodplants.

The larvae are black with red dots in four rows, sometimes also additional yellowish-white dots, bearing an osmaterium. When young, they live in small groups beneath spun leaves. Older larvae make a skillful spinning around a leaf and then feed beneath the spinning. This spinning is assumed to form a barrier against parasitoids. Foodsplants of the larvae are several Aristolochia-species. So far, 11 different species have been recorded: A. paecilantha (= A. scabridula) (Larsen 1974), A. parvifolia, A. hirta (= A. bodamae) (Buresch 1915, Koçak 1977, 1982), A. bottae, A. auricularia (Koçak 1982), A. rotunda, A. sempervirens, A. maurorum and A. billardieri (De Freina, 1985). The record of A. clematitis by Bryk (1934) is probably erroneous, since it is very toxic and larvae fed under lab conditions died within a few days (Carbonell unpublished, see Nazari & Carbonell 2006).

Pupation takes place only 1 - 2 cm beneath the surface in loose soil. The pupa hibernates.


genitalia, aedoeagus removed, dorsal view      
Picture from: © Higgins 1975, modified
Detailed view

genitalia (Higgins 1975). "Uncus slender, apex cleft; tegumen broad, extending into massive peduncles which fuse with vinculum and continue into long saccus; valve very small, attached to expanded vinculum; penis substantial, long and straight".

genitalia. Unknown.


The taxon apollinaris Staudinger, 1892, which has only recently been treated as a subspecies of A. apollinus, is now regarded to be a distinct species (Häuser 2006). A. apollinaris, like Archon bostanchii (De Freina & Naderi, 2003), usually is distinctly smaller than A. apollinus. On the hindwing upperside, often a dark scaling is present at the end of the cell in A. apollinus, which is missing in the other two species. The female of A. bostanchii furthermore, is recognized by an intensive dark mottling on the hind wing upperside. All three species are distinguished mainly by differences in the mitochondrial DNA. Otherwise, A. apollinus is easily recognized by the six blue and red spots on the hindwing upperside und therefore unmistakable.

Worth knowing:


Bryk, F. 1934. Baroniidae, Teinopalpidae, Parnassiidae, Part.I. Das Tierreich, Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft im Auftrag der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin und Lepizig, 64: I-XXIII, 1-131.
Buresch, I. 1915. Über die Biologie von Doritis apollinus und seine Verbreitung auf der Balkanhalbinsel. Spis Bulg. Akad. Nauk (Sophia) 12: 15-36.
Coutsis, J. G. & N. Ghavalás 2006. Archon apollinus from Ródos Island, Greece, confirmation desirable (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Phegea 34: 81-83.
De Freina, J. J. 1985. Revision der Gattung Archon Hübner 1822 mit Angeben zur Biologie, Verbreitung, Morphologie und Systematik von Archon apollinus (Herbst 1798) und Archon apollinaris Staudinger [1892] 1891 (stat. nov.) (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae). Nota Lepidopterologica 8: 97-128.
De Prins, W. 2004. Papilionidae. In - Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken (eds.). Lepidoptera, Moths. – Fauna Europaea version 1.1, http://www.faunaeur.org [online 2008.07.29].
Häuser, C. 2006. Papilionidae. In: Bisby F. A., Roskov Y. R., Orrell T. M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L. E., Bailly N., Kirk P. M., Bourgoin T., van Hertum J., eds. (2008). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist. Digital resource at www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/2008/. Species 2000: Reading, U.K.
Herbst, J. F .W. 1798. Natursystem aller bekannten in- und ausländischen Insekten als eine Fortsetzung der Buffonschen Naturgeschichte, 9, Buchandlung Pauli, Berlin, 206 pp.
Higgins, L. G. 1975. The Classification of European Butterflies, Collins, London
Higgins L. G. & N. D. Riley 1978. Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas, übersetzt von W. Forster, 2. Auflage, Verlag Paul Parey, Hamburg und Berlin
Katbeh-Bader, A., Z. S. Amr & S. Isma´el 1998 [2003]. The butterflies of Jordan. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 37: 11-26.
Koçak, A. Ö. 1977. New Lepidoptera from Turkey. IV. Description of new subspecies of Archon apollinus (Herbst, 1789 [sic]) (Parnassiinae). Nachrichtenblatt der Bayerischen Entomologen 26: 54-60.
Koçak, A. Ö. 1982. Notes on Archon apollinus (Herbst, 1798) (Papilionidae, Lepidoptera). Priamus 2: 44-64.
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2011. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 04 March 2011].
Larsen, T. B. 1974. Butterflies of Lebanon. National Council of Scientific Research, Beirut. 225 pp.
Nazari, V. & F. A. H. Sperling 2007. Mitochondrial DNA divergence and phylogeography in western Palaearctic Parnassiinae (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae): How many species are there ?. Insect systematics and Evolution, <38:2, 121-138.
Olivier, A. 2000. The butterflies of the Greek island of Níssiros (Lepidoptera: Hesperioidea & Papilionoidea). Phegea 28 (1): 25-36.
Shaw, M. R., C. Stefanescou & S. van Nouhuys 2009. Parasitoids of European buterflies. - In: Settele, J., T. Shreeve, M. Konvicka & H. Van Dyck (eds.): Ecology of butterflies in Europe. - Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Tolman T. & R. Lewington 1998. Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas, übersetzt von M. Nuß, Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co., Stuttgart.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2008.08.08
Kurz Michael: 2008.08.13
Kurz Michael: 2008.08.14
Kurz Michael: 2011.03.07
Kurz Michael: 2011.03.10
Kurz Michael: 2011.03.14
Kurz Michael: 2011.03.15
Document reviewed by:
not reviewed: 2011.03.15
Document released by:
Kurz Michael: 2011.03.15