Spanish Festoon

Zerynthia rumina


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Zerynthia rumina

Málaga, February 2017

Zerynthia rumina

Málaga, March 2013 

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Málaga, March 2011

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Ronda, March 2011

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Málaga, March 2011

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Málaga, March 2011

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Gibraltar, February 2007

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Gibraltar, February 2007

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Gibraltar, February 2007

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Gibraltar, February 2007

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Gibraltar, February 2007

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

Gibraltar, February 2007

Zerynthia rumina

Gravid female, Gibraltar, April 2019

Zerynthia rumina

Laying eggs beneath a leaf of the foodplant, in half-shade, Gibraltar, April 2019

Zerynthia rumina eggs

Eggs, Gibraltar, April 2019

Zerynthia rumina caterpillar

A young caterpillar, Gibraltar, April 2019

Zerynthia rumina habitat

Typical habitat near Málaga

Spanish festoon - zerythia rumina

The foodplant - Aristolochia baetica (the butterfly also takes other species of Aristolochia)

Zerynthia rumina distribution
The Spanish festoon is a wonderfully exotic butterfly close-up, though in flight its colours blur into a buttery mixture of all the shades on its wings and it looks much less brilliant. I first saw the species in early February, 1983, when I arrived in Gibraltar for my gap year between school and university. On that first day, as soon as I had unpacked, I headed off for a walk up the Rock and was thrilled to see Spanish festoons on the southern slopes. To this day I think of my year in Gibraltar every time I see one.

There is only one other similar species in Europe: the southern festoon, Zerynthia polyxena. The two species overlap in the South of France but are normally easily distinguished, the Spanish festoon having red markings in the forewings, absent in the southern festoon. Occasionally, this red may be missing or at least not visible (in older individuals, for example) in the Spanish festoon. When this is the case, the deeper undulations in the submarginal band of the southern festoon serve to separate the two.

Spanish festoons fly in hot, scrubby places - often but not exclusively thorny scrub. They normally have a single brood, flying from February until about May, but have been recorded as having a second brood in some years in the south. The larvae feed on various species of Aristolochia (pipevine). They are generally common where they are found.