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Apollo Butterfly Pictures

Parnassius apollo

The Apollo butterfly prefers the hills, flowery alpine meadows, and pastures of the European mountains. These very large white butterflies are decorated with five large black eyespots on the forewing and two bright red or sometimes orange eyespots on the hindwing. The bright red eyespots are thought to be a defense mechanism, as they resemble the eyes of an enemy predator. Another defense mechanism of the Apollo butterfly is obtained from its plant host, Sedum stenopetalum; it concentrates a bitter tasting compound from the host plant into its wings. Since butterfly wings are usually the first morsel that a predator will taste, the bitter taste will usually deter the predator from inflicting any more damage.

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