The Small Apollo, Parnassius phoebus
, is one of the three papilionid species in the Parnassiinae
subfamily that are found in North America. Parnassiinae
contains about 50 species, the rest of which live in Eurasia. Like the other North American parnassiines, P. phoebus
inhabits forests in Western North America. It is found from Alaska, known the North West coast of North America to mid-California, and internally through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and down to Northern New Mexico. The antennae of the Small Apollo has black and white rings, which distinguishes them from the solid black antennae of the other two North American parnassiine species (P. eversmanni
and P. clodius
). Larvae eat succulent herbs in family Crassulaceae
. The leathery adults are avoided by bird predators, although chipmunks have been observed eating them. Adults are thought to mimic pierid butterflies. Adults sip nectar and are pollinators of especially yellow composite flowers. Males and females emit a strong scent possibly involved in mating or defense. (Scott, 1986).