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Zerynthia Ochsenheimer, 1816

Vazrick Nazari and Frédéric Carbonell
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taxon links [up-->]Zerynthia rumina [up-->]Zerynthia polyxena [down<--]Parnassiinae Interpreting the tree
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Phylogeny after Nazari et al., 2007.
Containing group: Parnassiinae


Zerynthia is a well studied genus with two readily recognized species, Z. rumina and Z. polyxena, distributed in southern and eastern Europe and northern Africa (Higgins and Riley, 1970). Both species have received attention from generations of European lepidopterists, and consequently, their life histories are well known. There are at least one or two available scientific names for nearly every population (Manley and Allcard, 1970). Zerynthia polyxena alone, for example, has more than 31 subspecies (Nardelli and Hirschfeld, 2002). Larvae of both species feed on Aristolochia, and their life history and ecology are also well known. Ford (1944a, 1944b) and Eisner (1974) proposed several morphological characters that can be useful in phylogenetic studies on Zerynthia and related genera. Intra- and interspecific hybridization between the two species has also been investigated by Descimon and Michel (1989) and Lux (1990).


Although the name Parnalius Rafinesque, 1815 predated Zerynthia Ochsenheimer, 1816, it was proposed for suppression to conserve the name Zerynthia, by Kudrna and Ackery (1977) as well as Riley and Higgins (1977). The ICZN granted these proposals and Zerynthia Ochsenheimer, 1816, has been conserved by the suppresion of Parnalius Rafinesque, 1815 for the Law of Priority and not for the Law of Homonymy (ICZN, 1979: 102).


Descimon, H., Michel, F., 1989. Expériences d’hybridation intra- et interspécifiques dans le genre Zerynthia (Papilionidae). Relativité des critères mixiologiques de l’espèce. Nota Lepidopterologicae 12 (suppl.1): 28-31.

Eisner, C., 1974. Parnassiana Nova XLIX. Die Arten und Unterarten der Baroniidae, Teinopalpidae und Parnassiidae (Erster teil) (Lepidoptera). Zoologische Verhandelingen Uitgegeven door het Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie te Leiden, 135: 1-96.

Ford, E.B., 1944a. Studies on the chemistry of pigments in the Lepidoptera, with references to their bearing on systematics. 3. The red pigment of the Papilionidae. The Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London 19: 92-106.

Ford, E.B., 1944b. Studies on the chemistry of pigments in the Lepidoptera, with references to their bearing on systematics. 4. The classification of the Papilionidae. The Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 94: 201-223.

Higgins, L.G., Riley, N.D., 1970. A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Europe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 380 pp.

ICZN, 1979. Opinion 1134. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 36: 102.

Kudrna, O., Ackery, P. R., 1977. [No title]. Bull. Zool. Nom. 33: 145.

Lux, C., 1990. Ethologie, systematique and ecologie de Zerynthia polyxena creusa Meigen dans les Alples-Maritimes (Fomes, variétés et aberrations du Papilionidae). Bulletin de la Societe Sciences Nat, 66: 9-17.

Manley, W.B.L., Allcard, H.G., 1970. A Field Guide to the Butterflies and Burnets of Spain. Hampton, Classey, 192 pp.

Nardelli, U., Hirschfeld, G., 2002. Abberations, formes et sous-especes de Zerynthia polyxena Denis and Schiffermüller, 1775 (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Lambillionea 102: 223-240.

Nazari, V., Zakharov, E.V., Sperling, F.A.H., 2007. Phylogeny, historical biogeography, and taxonomic ranking of Parnassiinae (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae) based on morphology and seven genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 42: 131-156.

Riley, N.D., Higgins, L.G., 1977. [No title]. Bull. Zool. Nom. 33: 145.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Zerynthia rumina
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Sex Female
Copyright © 2006
About This Page

Vazrick Nazari
Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, Ottawa, Canada

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Vazrick Nazari at and Frédéric Carbonell at

Page: Tree of Life Zerynthia Ochsenheimer, 1816. Authored by Vazrick Nazari and Frédéric Carbonell. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Nazari, Vazrick and Frédéric Carbonell. 2006. Zerynthia Ochsenheimer, 1816. Version 07 July 2006 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Zerynthia/65400/2006.07.07 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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