Thursday, 13 May 2010

CATERPILLAR/BUTTERFLY: Eastern Festoon (Zerynthia cerisy), Kidasi, Cyprus

May 5, 2010:
In Europe, the Eastern Festoon butterfly occurs only from the Balkans to the eastern Mediterranean. In Cyprus its larva has made an interesting choice for its food-plant: the low-climbing herb Aristolochia sempervirens (a species of birthwort).

Whilst relatively widespread, A. sempervirens is not common everywhere on the island. At this date and relatively low altitude the butterfly appeared to have finished flying but its brightly-coloured caterpillar could be found on Aristolochia plants growing by the roadside near Kidasi in the Diarizos valley.

The Aristolochia food-plant with its unusual and highly-specialised, funnel-shaped flowers (above) and the butterfly (below).

Thanks to Yiannis Christophides for providing the photo of the butterfly (its flying period being over at the time of the visit)

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