• Mark–release–recapture;
  • nectar resources;
  • Parnassius apollo;
  • patchy population;
  • population structure


1. The movement of adults of the endangered Apollo butterfly, Parnassius apollo, was studied using mark–recapture data, within a population consisting of discrete patches of the species’ host plant (n = 43), which were segregated spatially from patches of the species’ main nectar plants (n = 14).

2. The Apollo routinely moved large distances (median 260 m, maximum 1840 m), and moved frequently between the two types of patches. Only 27% (28/105) of the recaptures were made on the same host plant patch as the release.

3. The population acts as a patchy population where the adults mix over the whole area, but successful reproduction can only take place in the discrete host plant patches.

4. Occurrence on a host plant patch was restricted by the area size of the host plant patch and the spatial configuration of nectar plant patches. Thus, although the Apollo is a good flyer, its movement over the patches is still constrained by the segregation of adult and larval resources.