More than two weeks ago I returned from a short family holiday to the Dordogne/France. It was nine years ago that I visited the Dordogne for the last time and I have to admit that I forgot how attractive this region is.
On the way we visited a well-hidden 'old friend' in the forest....after twelve years I was happy that he was still there and that nothing has changed!
For one week we rented a house with a terrain of 1,5 hectare, enough to search and find nice butterfly species; the two most common species were the Pale Clouded Yellow and Marsh Fritillary.
Due to a cold spring the number of butterflies was low but fortunately the weather was good and day by day the number was increasing. A very nice surprise was the presence of the Provencal short-tailed Blue (Cupido alcetas).
It won't be long before I will return to the Dordogne again!
The other location of the False Apollo we visited four times and we stayed there almost the complete day as I wanted decent photos of this species. I learned that the hour before they dive into the bushes to hide for the night they are less active and that they were sitting longer on a flowers or on the path, but I needed to approach them very carefully.
Although I photographed in the morning the same male butterflies as in the afternoon, which gave me the impression that their area is not that big, I never saw them the day after. Every day I photographed other False Apollos....the same for the female butterflies. This lovely lady with a lot of red in her wings I did not see again.
An other female False Apollo was very slow around noon....first I thought that she was attacked by a spider. When the wind moved her wings I learned that she emerged earlier that day. I was watching her and hoped that she would have been noticed by a male....and suddenly it happened..... a male noticed her and within a few seconds they were mating:
My mission False Apollo would be 100% complete with photos of the eggs and caterpillars. I found three different kind of larval foodplants but unfortunately without any eggs or caterpillars.
Nevertheless, mission False Apollo accomplished!
After two days of seeing my first False Apollo ever, I returned early in the morning to this spot with the hope to find a sleeping one....at that time not knowing that this species have an other sleeping strategy. After a long search without finding any butterfly, the sun arrived. Shortly after the sun touches a field of grassland, a grey/dead bush near the path started moving....a female False Apollo had awakened and started climbing out to enjoy the first sunshine:
Two days after this photo was taken I found this species on an other location and observed them the hole day and learned how they disappear in the bushes of grass. On a large field I first saw a male and a minute later a female diving into the dry/dead bushes of grass and I could not find them back. Although a lot of other butterfly species were still flying around, the False Apollo was ready for the night good camouflaged low above the ground....I guess that this is the reason why they have the name Apollo.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.