That's my last series of specimens from my recent museum visit. I look forward to your further comments on them. I would like to thank the Parnassius experts here for their subspecific ID and will certainly communicate your comments to the curator. I will examine some further drawers when I am next at the Museum. I remember among them there was a nice apollo Finnish drawer.
Well, I think almost everybody would agree that most of apollo ssp. are the same. Then the huge work of description that has been done on this species is now useful to know where it was present and where it has become extinct.
Thank you for those splendid pictures of historic apollo, Peter.
I agree with Olivier, many of the 'subspecies' are probably not true subspecies as generally accepted, but all the old studies on Parnassius apollo are at least a great historical record of the species. It is strange how every population across Europe is a different subspecies, whereas populations from large areas of Russia etc are treated as the same subspecies. Certainly there are a large number of real subspecies in western Europe, but I don't think that all of the described subspecies are really sufficiently different to treat as good subspecies.
Many of the phenotypic differences between geographically close populations are probably purely a result of local environmental factors rather than genetic differences. It would make a great study for a DNA researcher to sample as many populations as possible and analyse the results.
I agree with your comments, both about the multiple invasions from Asia and the plethora of European experts. It occurs to me that it would be very interesting to rear eggs of apollo obtained from the same female in cages placed in several habitats of the various subspecies living close together in a relatively small area, and see if the resulting adults all look the same, or are affected by environmental conditions at each place.
"But still we have a problem, that during apollo "saving" programs some populations have been mixed up with apollos from other Europaean countries, what makes some localities worthless. Conversationists have no concept of ssp., they refuse them and treat apollo like a bear or a wolf and they can see no problem in mixing ssp. or localities"
Well, that might actually provide clues by itself. Has anyone looked at the phenotype of specimens resulting from mixing of subspecies? In some cases there may be a genetic basis to difference in phenotype, and in such cases you might expect the offspring to be intermediate; but if the phenotype is environmentally controlled then the mixed populations should still look the same as they did before.
I have a question for Radusho. Why did those Czech populations that were regarded as distinct races-subspecies become extinct and please can you tell which populations today are vulnerable that are not protected and which are the rarest extant subspecies and where do they occur .
Regarding franconicus...a friend of mine told me that it was long consider extinct and then someone was offering eggs for sale from a locality where no specimens have been collected for 40 years. So most likely completely different ssp. was introduced to already extinct locality
My friend told me that breeding results confirm the mixture of both ssp. Eggs appeared on the market in 1995, so any specimens from that locality collected before 1995 ( 1985 - 1995) will prove that it wasn't extinct.