Zerynthia cretica - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

Zerynthia cretica (endemic) - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

Zerynthia cretica


Zerynthia cretica is a butterfly of the family Papilionidae on the island of Crete, Greece.

Scientific name

Zerynthia cretica (Rebel, 1904)

Common name

Cretan Festoon


Family: Papilionidae> Subfamily: Parnassiinae > Tribus: Zerynthiini > Genus: Zerynthia


Male to female: 50-60 mm

Males are light yellow colored, while females are dark yellow; black marks on the wings are also more intense and larger in females. Both sides of the forewings have few black markings mainly near the apex.
On the hindwings, on both sides, there are two small red spots and some characteristic black spots in the submarginal area.

Zerynthia cretica in Crete can be found in vineyards, olive groves, rocky slopes, and different habitats of its host plants.


It flies close to the ground and usually opens its wings when resting. Yellow black and red colors warn enemies that it is poisonous.

Food plant

The larva feeds on Aristolochia (Aristolochia cretica, A. parviflorum and A. sempervirens) plants.

Flight Period

The butterflies fly in one generation per year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Although Cretan Festoon is an endemic species with a restricted range, this butterfly is not believed to face major threats.

The butterfly is widespread and common across Crete. It is the only Zerynthia species flying on the island.


Least Concern (LC)

(*European Red List of Butterflies, 2010)

Zerynthia Cretica Distribution Map

*based on http://www.pamperis.gr/THE_BUTTERFLIES_OF_GREECE/MAPS.html

Zerynthia cretica location map based on greek butterflies distributions map by L.N. Pamperis (revised 2021)

Other Papilionidae Species in Crete