Tag Archives: Papilionidae

Parnassius apollo ssp. ancile Fruhstorfer

Fichtel Mountain (Parnassius apollo ssp. ancile)

This form was described in 1909, apparently already after its extinction; it was restricted to a small region around the city of Bad Berneck in the Franconian part of the Fichtel Mountains.

The reasons for its disappearance are very well known.:

P. apollo ancile Fruhst, von Berneck im Fichtelgebirge hat leider dasselbe tragische Schicksal wie P. apollo posthumus erreicht. An der einzigen Stelle des Fichtelgebirges, wo ancile vorkam, wurde er nach freundl. brieflichen Mitteilungen des Herrn Lehrers Poehlmann in Röhrenhof, Oberfranken, durch „brutales Wegfangen seitens der Sommerfrischler, noch mehr aber durch die Dummheit einer Gärtnersfrau, völlig ausgerottet. Letztere ließ die ancile durch Kinder einfangen, um die apollo den abreisenden Kurgästen auf das übliche Blumenbuket (noch dazu häufig lebend!) zu stecken. 1909 wurde das letzte Stück beobachtet. Ein bezirksamtliches Fangverbot kam zu spät, es gab nichts mehr zu schützen.” [1]


P. apollo ancile Fruhst, from Berneck in the Fichtel mountains unfortunately met the same tragic fate as P. apollo posthumus. In the only place in the Fichtel Mountains where ancile occurred, it was found, according to a friendly written message by the teacher Poehlmann in Hülsenhof, Upper Franconia, completely eradicated by “brutal capture by the summer visitors, but even more so by the stupidity of a gardener’s wife. The latter had the ancile captured by children in order to pin the apollo on the usual bouquet of flowers (and often alive!) for the departing spa guests. The last specimen was observed in 1909. A district official catching ban came too late; there was nothing left to protect.”


unspecified subspecies

Depiction from: ‘Jacob Hübner: Das kleine Schmetterlingsbuch: Die Tagfalter, Insel-Bücherei Nr. 213. 1934’

(public domain)



[1] H. Fruhstorfer: Neue und seltene Parnassius-Rassen. Entomologischer Anzeiger 3(11): 131-133. 1923


edited: 10.01.2024

Meandrusa payeni ssp. payeni (Boisduval)

Yellow Gorgon (Meandrusa payeni ssp. payeni)

The Yellow Gorgon can be spilt into about six subspecies, which occur from parts of China and India to Indonesia.

The species itself seems not to be threatened yet, however, the nominate form, which was restricted to the island of Java, Indonesia, appears to be extinct now.


The photo below shows another subspecies.

syn. Papilio payeni ssp. payeni Boisduval


Indian Yellow Gorgon (Meandrusa payeni ssp. evan (Doubleday))

Photo: Tamagha Sengupta 


edited: 17.11.2021

Graphium macleayanum ssp. insulana (Waterhouse)

Lord Howe Swallowtail (Graphium macleayanum ssp. insulana)

Macleay’s Swallowtail (Graphium macleayanum (Leach)) is an Australian butterfly species that contains three subspecies, of which two occur in Australia while the third one was restricted to Lord Howe Island.

The larvae feed on several plant species from the Atherospermataceae, the Lauraceae and the Winteraceae.

The Lord Howe subspecies, described in 1920, was last seen in 1893 and is now obviously extinct.


The photo below shows the south-eastern Australian subspecies of Macleay’s Swallowtail (Graphium macleayanum ssp. moggana Couchman).


Macleay’s Swallowtail (Graphium macleayanum ssp. moggana)

Photo: daniaustin


edited: 02.02.2024

Papilio lampsacus Boisduval

Javan Swallowtail (Papilio lampsacus)

The Javan Swallowtail was described in 1836; it is restricted to the island of Java in Indonesia.

The species is not well known and is believed to be extinct; pinned specimens are still found in the trade and are sold at very high prices.


Photo: Denver Museum of Nature & Science


edited: 15.01.2024

Parnassius mnemosyne ssp. bang-haasi Bryk

Danish Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne ssp. bang-haasi)

The Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne (L.)) is native to the Palearctic, it inhabits meadows and woodland clearings; the species is divided into several subspecies, of which probably at least some are very likely invalid.  

The Danish Clouded Apollo is thought to have indeed been endmic to Denmark, where several populations were found, for example on the islands of Funen, Langeland, Lolland-Falster and Zealand.

The form was last seen on Zealand in 1948 in the Knudsskov forest near Vordingborg, respectively in 1961 in the Nordskoven forest near the town of Jægerspris. 


edited: 31.10.2020

Graphium aurivilliusi Seeldrayers

Albertine Rift Butterfly (Graphium aurivilliusi)

The Albertine Rift Butterfly was described in 1896, it is known only by the type series that apparently consists of at least two male specimens.

This species was found somewhere in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an exact locality seems not to be known.

The Albertine Rift Butterfly reaches a wingspan of 7,5 cm; the winds are blackish-brown with green-tinged white markings forming large, interrupted bands on the fore- and the hindwings. [1]

The species was never found again since its description and is possibly extinct.



[1] N. Mark Collins; Michael G. Morris:  Threatened swallowtail butterflies of the World: The IUCN Red Data Book. Intl Union for Conservation of. 1985


Depiction from: ‘E. Seeldrayers: Lépidoptères noveaux du Congo. Annales de la Société entomologique de Belgique 40: 499-505. 1896’

(public domain)


edited: 11.10.2020

Battus polydamas ssp. antiquus (Rothschild & Jordan)

Antigua Gold Rim Swallowtail (Battus polydamas ssp. antiquus)

The Antigua Gold Rim Swallowtail, described in 1906, is a subspecies of the Gold Rim Swallowtail (Battus polydamus (L.)); it is thought to have been endemic to the island of Antigua in the Lesser Antilles.

This form is actually known only from a depiction by the British entomologist Dru Drury from 1770 (see below), however, it is quite possible that this form never existed in the first place as it is known that Drury’s book contains lots of geographical and taxonomical errors.


Depiction: ‘J. O. Westwood: Illustrations of exotic entomology : containing upwards of six hundred and fifty figures and descriptions of foreign insects, interspersed with remarks and reflections on their nature and properties by Dru Drury. London: Henry G. Bohn 1837’

(public domain)


edited: 16.05.2022