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Parnassius sacerdos.

Parnassius sacerdos.
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Stoeckl (peter_stoeckl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-08-21
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): European Butterflies 7, Hohe Tauern National Park [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-09-03 14:13
Viewed: 5283
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

Parnassius sacerdos (Stichel, 1906),

Small Apollo.

Family: Papilionidae.

Wing span: 50 - 65mm.

With its large transparent white wings and distinctive markings, Parnassius sacerdos is a most beautiful and unusual sight when you are high up in the mountains where most butterflies are small and dark.

The species may be looked for in vain in some years, indicating that under bad summer weather conditions the larval stage could be extended for a second hibernation.

This year was a good year. I was lucky to find the species where I expected to see it: high up in the Oetztal valley near Gries im Sulztal in July, and near the glaciers of Grossglockner in August, 2006.

This highly protected species is an endemite of the European Alps, where it can be found at wet spots near glaciers at high elevations only (2000m - 3000m above sea level) very locally in Austria, Southern Germany, Switzerland, Northern Italy, French Alps.

Older literature refers to this species as an isolated European subspecies of the Siberian species "Parnassius phoebus (Fabricius 1793)" that can be found from the Ural to Kamchatka as well as in the North American Rocky Mountains.

Obviously an ice age relic, and closely related to Parnassius phoebus, recent research from the last decade has found good reasons to regard the former subspecies "sacerdos" as a species of its own (Häuser 1993, Nardelli 1991, Shepard & Manley 1998). Living in splendid isolation from the rest of the world in the highest regions of the European Alps since about 12,000 years ago has been a long time, obviously long enough to settle a species of its own.

Sacerdos can be seen in one generation in July and August. Caterpillars of P. sacerdos feed on Saxifraga aizoides.

In my next postings I will present a few more shots from Alpine Apollos with more details visible.


Häuser, C. L. (1993): An annotated checklist of the species of the Parnassiinae (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). – Tijdschrift voor Entomologie, 136: 137-146.

Jonko, C.: Butterflies and Moths of Europe: http://www.lepidoptera.bai.pl/

Shepard, J. H. & Manley, T. R. (1998): A species revision of the Parnassius phoebus complex in North America (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). – In: Emmel, T. C. (Hrsg.): Systematics of Western North American Butterflies. – Mariposa Press.

Tolman, T. & Lewington, R. (1998): Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas. – Stuttgart

Wikipedia: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpenapollo

The camera:

SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 14mm, F/5.6, 1/800 sec., ISO-125, no tripod, no flash; 21.08.2006, 17:34.

Postwork: Photoshop Elements, cropped at the sides, downsized to the web, slightly sharpened, contrast and luminance readjusted.

Hope you enjoy. Thank you for looking.
Have a very good start of the week.

SkyF, carper, wallhalla15, RAP, eruyanik, Hil, Runnerduck, dew77, Argus, wishnugaruda, fyapici, vanderschelden, LeBonhomme, scottevers7, ddg, jmp, phlr, marhowie, thor68, Janice, Alex99, miuky has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Xplorator: Da Vincipeter_stoeckl 1 09-07 13:41
To dew77: hope to see 1000th herepeter_stoeckl 1 09-04 04:03
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-09-03 14:24]

Hallo Peter,
eine wunderschoene aufnahme ist dir hier gelungen. Vor allem die Perspektive und die Bildgestaltung gefallen mir sehr gut. Wunderbar auch der Schaerfeverlauf und die herrlichen Farben. Eine gute Aufnahme and der einfach alles

E' una foto che mi piace molto per il taglio e la composizione. Complimenti ciao gigicacco

  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2006-09-03 14:25]

thats a fine one peter,
well taken composition, good point of view and very fine details, I like the shot agains the sky, wll taken and technical very nice, good job.
gr. jaape

Hallo Peter,
hatte Dich schon vermisst! Zeigst uns auch prompt einen sehr schönen Falter. Super Perspektive, tadellose Schärfe, wunderbare Farben - ein sehr schönes Foto!

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2006-09-03 14:33]

Hallo Peter,
nach kleiner Pause zurück zum 100. mit einer 'luftigen' Aufnahme aus interessanter Perspektive. Es kommen schöne Details nicht nur vom phoebus sondern auch von der Blüte zum Vorschein. Wunderbar komponiert!
Beste Grüße, Peter

Hallo Peter!
A great pov here! The butterfly looks like a soldier on a shield and watching you! i love that wonderful sky as a bg, looks amazing indeed and backlit's effect on the wings are great too. Very interesting butterfly with that red patterns on the white wings also. Just wonderful!
Btw, congratulation for 100th post, great choice for it.
Thank you and best regards,

  • Great 
  • Hil Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
  • [2006-09-03 15:18]

Hi Peter,

Superb shot, fanatastic POV with the sky and clouds as a background, the details are lovely and crisp and the colours and lighting are excellent.

TFS Hilary :)

A lovely image, great feeling of space. The low pov works so well here and the dof is spot on. A perfect composition, thanks for posting.
Oh and congratulations on your 100th post ...

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-09-03 15:35]
  • [+]

Hello Peter,
Excellent close up.Eye contact,POV,details,lighting,BG and composition are wonderful.Congratulations on 100th post and hope to see 1000th here.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2006-09-03 15:45]

Hello Peter,
Great shot, fine POV, good DOF and colours and what priviledge to be able to photograph this species. Fantastic!
TFS this photo and info.
Regards, Ivan

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-09-03 16:03]

Hello Peter , Fantastic shot , beautifull compositie details pov light sharp bg very good ,tfs Greetings Teunie .

Hallo Peter,
Wunderbar! I don't want to repeat the words that were written above me, just perfect! Vielen Danke,
Mit herzliche Grüsse,

Hi Peter,
An unusual sight of a butterfly here. That is a merit. I like the clouds here and the light in the butterfly's wings.
Well done

Bonjour Peter,
very well done especialy with backlighting. A flash would have help to lighten under the flower, but most improtant, we lose nothing in the butterfly. Your note is very complete. TFS, conggratulations!

Hi Peter,
I think the composition is what really makes this shot. The colors and detail look excellent from a spot on exposure. The head on, low POV is really geat here. The blue sky and clouds in the backround really tops off this great shot.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-09-04 1:05]

Hi Peter

Excellent shot you have here!
Very interesting POV which works surprisingly well, great on details, splendid colors and light. Also the very low POV allows for a superb BG made of clouds and blue sky, so again very well done here!

Bravo and TFS

Very good photo with splendid light and nice colors. Perfect composition
Best regards

Hi Peter,
Very nice composition and sharpness.


Hi Peter,
This is a really interesting and different POV for this beauty! Details are great with a very nice composition. I like the fact that we see an other blurred flower in the BG. Great DOF, TFS,

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2006-09-04 8:25]

Bonjour Peter, fantastic macro-shot with an excellent low POV. This perstective is amazing, I like a lot!! Great details and colors also. Best regards, Didier.

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2006-09-04 9:31]

Bienvenido nuevamente estimado amigo.
Gran captura con un impresionante POV y perfecta agudeza, sobre un fondo claro y limpio.
Los detalles del pelaje de la mariposa y del tronco de la flor son maravillosos.
Ah... excelente elección del encuadre.
Gracias y saludos... Ricardo

welcome again respected friend.
Great capture with an impressive POV and perfect sharpness, on a clear and clean bottom.
The details of the hair of the butterfly and of the trunk of the flower is wonderful.
Ah... excellent election of the framing.
Thank you and greetings... Ricardo

... later :)

hi peter
excellent point de vue,belles couleurs vives et bons details.

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-09-04 12:14]

Hi Peter,
A very nice shot with very good details, soft and beautiful colors and a very appropriate pov for a butterfly that flies to high. Excellent note, very informative and interesting.
Welcome back again with your 100ht shot.
José M.

Hallo Peter,
Gratulation - 100 geniale Fotos, jedes so einzigartig und wundervoll, nix von der Stange wie manches hier. Das hier ist genial - wow - dieser Blickwinkel von unten macht aus diesem Falter ein riesiges Monster.
Wundervolles Licht und die Blume ist so schön.
Super, vielen Dank und lieben Gruß
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Punkte morgen

Hello Peter,
This is an eye opening picture. Great composition and pov. Sharp and crisp clear picture. Congratualtions to your 100th post.

Wow, wow, wow, Da Vinci's miniature version of the airplane just landed in Tirol? :)
Very cool perspective and colors, man!

Hi Peter,
Lovely shot. What I like most is the dynamic POV and sky BG :)
Very well done!

wow, das passende tolle photo zum 100., peter! :-)
perfekter blickwinkel für eine perfekte komposition mit
perfekter schärfe, wunderschönen farben und einmaligen details.
und nicht zu vergessen: der augenkontakt.
perfect job & viele grüße, thorsten.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-09-09 22:02]

Hi Peter, I can't get off your page - here is another beauty. I love your POV, with the sky behind showing up this butterfly. A superb presentation, thank you

Hi Peter,
In the end I have enough time for coments but I don't know how comment so nice pictures

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2006-09-20 10:21]

Hi Peter.
Next your wonderful poem about butterfly. I think the POV is very original and expressive. It's really outstanding. It allows to see the butterfly from unusual point and to show perfect view. The sky as BG is fantastic in its beauty. Details of the butterfly and flower are perfect and impressive. Composition is outstanding, as always. Brilliant work. TFS and my compliments.

  • Great 
  • miuky Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 17 W: 0 N: 17] (180)
  • [2006-11-25 5:29]

Oh wow...
Hy Peter...
Stady, ready...and the GO will come later...Like an athlet on the start line on the finale of the olympic 100m ...
Great light...
Be well, M.
PS Thanks for the wellcome...:), and attention:)

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