Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

32030_male_Var_3May13 32434_male_Var_21May13 28787_male_Var_21Apr12
40339_male_Var_29Apr16 14829_sex?_Var_01May09 20122_sex?_Var_17May10
34539_sex?_Var_21Apr14 32149_female_Var_14May13 34676_sex?_Var_6May14
32247_pair_Var_20May13 36861_pair_Var_15Apr15 40077_female_Var_11Apr16
24825_female_Var_16May11 34482_sex?_Var_13Apr14 32227_hostplant_Var_20May13

An intriguing butterfly, rather similar to its cousin, the Southern Festoon (Z. polyxena), with which it shares the same larval hostplant species Aristolochia (common name: Birthwort, or some species of Birthwort). Rumina uses A. pistolochia (see 32227) in my experience, whereas polyxena uses A. rotunda. Rumina has a European distribution limited to the Iberian peninsula (hence the English name) and extending east to southern France; polyxena has an easterly distribution extending west into Provence. The dpartement of Var and the surrounding region is where they overlap and both can be seen.

In 2006 I found them in small numbers, often just singles, in a variety of locations, but in 2007 and 2008 did not see quite as many. 2009 to 2011 seemed slightly better years, so maybe the numbers fluctuate from year to year. However, in 2013, they enjoyed a very good year, the best I have ever seen in Var, and an extended flight period well into June; on one occasion I counted 25 or more at a single location. It is an early season butterfly, single-brooded with a flight period of April-May, but tends to emerge slightly later than polyxena and stay on the wing until the third week in May.

 

The subspecies medesicaste, with increased red markings on the hindwing submargins and in the hindwing basal area, is supposedly common, and may well be the predominant subspecies in southern France.

ref sex

observations

alt. m
32030 M a male, almost fresh, but with slightly limited red in the upf cell area. 185
32434 M a male on the basis of the limited markings on the body. It is almost perfectly fresh and shows how the red just jumps off the wings. Rumina at its best. 220
28787 M a reasonably fresh specimen, but not freshly emerged, having lost some scales. 185
40339 M a male, with rather pale red markings that seem natural and not a result of ageing as there is not much evidence of ageing elsewhere on the scales. 220
14829 ?

almost impossible to tell which sex. This must be quite a fresh specimen as there seems little scale loss.

220
20122 ?

a fresher specimen, with the deep red contrasting nicely with the black.

185
34539 ? another example of this highly photogenic species. It appears to be identical to 34685 but there are some subtle differences, and it was from a different location. Possibly a male based on the rather weaker body markings. 220
32149 F I suspect this is a female based on the slightly stronger body markings. It provides a good example of butterflies as pollinators, as its head is covered in pollen. 220
34676 ? Possibly a male based on the rather weaker body markings. 185
32247 PAIR a mating pair. I suspect the female is above, based on visible body shape. 185
36861 PAIR a mating pair. It is probably the female above, as usually seems to be the case. 220
40077 F a female underside, resting in between sessions of egg-laying. 220
24825 F an underside shot, not very often seen. 185
34482 ? Possibly a male based on the body shape and end of the abdomen. 220
32227 HOSTPLANT the larval hostplant Aristolochia pistolochia. It is a low-growing plant reaching about 25cm height at the most. It is quite common in Var although inconspicuous and easily overlooked. Rumina never wanders far from the hostplant and it is often the case that when rumina is seen, pistolochia can usually be found nearby. See also the polyxena page.  

 

32030_male_Var_3May13

 

32434_male_Var_21May13

 

40339_male_Var_29Apr16

 

28787_male_Var_21Apr12

 

14829_sex?_Var_01May09

 

20122_sex?_Var_17May10

 

34539_sex?_Var_21Apr14

 

32149_female_Var_14May13

 

34676_sex?_Var_6May14

 

32247_pair_Var_20May13

 

36861_pair_Var_15Apr15

 

40077_female_Var_11Apr16

 

24825_female_Var_16May11

 

34482_sex?_Var_13Apr14

 

32227_hostplant_Var_20May13