Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Clodius Parnassian

The Clodius Parnassian is found across much of the western United States and adjacent Canada. Although this is the first one I’ve seen, it is conspicuous and common in the Pacific Northwest. Erika and I found it on 14 June 2020 at the Darlin Creek Preserve south of Olympia. At first I thought we had an odd swallowtail and, in fact, parnassians are in the swallowtail family. Notice in the second photo that the wingtips are almost transparent. The red, black-circled wing-dots amazed me. These butterflies are highly variable across their range, which can make their identification difficult.  This species is found at lower elevations than many of its close relatives. I am not certain as to the derivation of the name Clodius Parnassian. Parnassian may refer to the Greek mountain that was scared to Apollo and the Muses. Alternative names for this species include Apollo and American Parnassian.

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