Southern Festoon

Zerynthia polyxena ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)



A medium-sized yellow butterfly, with black markings and red spots. Male and female are very similar. The butterfly is distinctive and should not be confused with any other species in Corfu.

Considerable variation can be seen in the ground colour (the dominant background colour) of the wings of this butterfly, ranging from ash white to custard yellow.

Habitat Requirements

Given that Corfu is altitudally limited much of the island has the potential to host this species. Katerina Kyriaki has recorded this species from as high as Mt. Araklis (550m), whilst Giannis Gasteratos has reported sightings from as low as the reed beds of Lake Halikiopoulos, at sea level. Usually found in relatively damp, grassy herb rich meadows, where the host plant is to be found. 

Larval Foodplants

European birthwort Aristolochia clematitis - which is probably not found in Corfu. Round-leaved birthwort A. rotunda subsp. insularis.

In Corfu it is rare to find popuations of Round-leaved Birthwort A. rotunda, that do not host colonies of this butterfly species.


A delicate flier and easy to photograph because it's not easily startled. This hairsuit species can oftentimes be found resting on flower heads because its flight season, being so early in the year, exposes the adult to low temperatures, making it difficult for it to raise its body temperature high enough to support flight.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Southern Festoon submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 12/03/2023 06/06/2023 86 days
2022 17/03/2022 07/05/2022 51 days
2021 19/02/2021 21/04/2021 61 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 318
2022 426
2021 87
Grand Total 831

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Southern Festoon (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Southern Festoon (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Southern Festoon
  • Family: Papilionidae (Latreille, 1802)
  • Sub-family: Parnassiinae (Duponchel, [1835])
  • Tribe: Zerynthiini (Grote, 1899)
  • Genus: Zerynthia (Ochsenheimer, 1816)
  • Species: polyxena ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)


For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.