Clouded Apollo

The Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne), is a butterfly species of the family of Swallowtail butterflies found in Eurasia. Clouded Apollos inhabits meadows and woodland clearings with plenty of flowering plants, both in the lowlands and in the mountains. It is not usually found at altitudes above 1500m except in the Asian mountains where it is known also from higher altitudes.

Its range of distribution extends from the Pyrenees, across the Central Massif, the Alps, and the Carpathians as far as central Asia. It inhabits all European countries including Norway, where it appears rarely and only in certain places. A great number of different geographical races and individual forms are distinguished in this extensive region. The most striking specimens include a dark race from the eastern Bavarian Alps.

The female Clouded Apollo lays whitish eggs with a granular surface. The caterpillar feeds only on sunny days, otherwise it is hidden under leaves or stones. The blunt-ended chrysalis lies on the ground in a light spun covering. The caterpillars feed exclusively on Corydalis species. To prevent the continuing disappearance of this butterfly from many places in central Europe, it is now protected in some regions. They inhabit small patches and individuals move from patch to patch and conservation of a network of patches is required to maintain the gene pool.