Due to the sheer number of named aberrations for some species, not all are shown on the species pages - only those for which corresponding images are available. This page, however, provides access to all of the named aberrations for a given species, where known and Goodson & Read (1969) is a key resource in this regard.
Aberration in this magnificent species is scarce, but when it does occur it is usually spectacular.
Due to the scarcity of aberrations in this species together with the high prices that such specimens commanded at natural history auctions, this species has been subject to some fraud historically, with artificially coloured specimens being sold as the extreme ab. niger (described below).
Specimens in old collections sometimes exhibit ground colour of orange or dark yellow however these should be treated with caution: killing agents such as ammonia and hydrogen cyanide were commonly used in the early 20th century and it is now known that such chemicals can alter the colour of some species over time.
There are 94 named aberrations known to occur in Britain.
On the forewings the submarginal lunules are very small and round.
On the hindwings the red of the anal eyespot extends beyond its upper black border and has no blue dusting. The red is also very dark.
The forewings narrower and more pointed because of their more oblique outer margin. The Hindwings narrower and more elongate.
On the hindwings one or more of the marginal lunules are open on their outer side through the partial absence of the thin black border line.
On the hindwings there is little blue on the marginal band, of a faded shade and vanishing in certain lights.
The ground colour even deeper orange than ab. burdigalensis.
On the hindwings the anal eyespot shows the upper half of a sky-blue, sharply contrasting with the red.
On the hindwings the red anal eyespot has a black dividing line cutting between the red and the blue.
= incompletus Maslowscy.Polsk.Pismo.Ent.1923.2.p.130.fig.8.
On the hindwings the topmost yellow marginal spot is absent.
Like adaperta Derenne with the cross-bar which closes the discoidal cell, split into two parts by a thin yellow line, but with a black marking dividing it horizontally, leaving a small yellow space at the bottom and a longer yellow space above it. Described as an underside form but similar to ab. dissoluta, in which the yellow is continuous and not interrupted by this black mark. It apparently has not been found on the upperside.
= bipunctata Seitz.Seitz Macrolep.1907.1.p.12.
On the forewings in normal specimens the topmost yellow spot of the median yellow band contains a black spot. In this form there is another black spot in the yellow spot beneath the top one, thus the two top spots each contain a black central spot.
On the forewings the black marginal line, which runs between the yellow marginal spots and the fringe, is cut short at the bottom so that the lowest yellow spot connects right through to the fringe.
= aurantiaca Speyer.Geogr.Verbr.Schmett.1758.1.p.278.
= aurantiaca Selys.Ann.Soc.Ent.Fr.1831.p.4.,nom.nud.
The ground colour dark yellow or orange yellow. Most specimens of this colour are not genuine but the result of chemical action or exposure to light. The true form however does exist among bred specimens.
= exocellatus Cabeau.Rev.Mens.Soc.Ent.1923.23.p.29.
On the hindwings the anal eyespot is absent, the submarginal band is therefore brought nearer to the anal angle.
= rufopunctata Wheeler.Butts.Switz.1903.p.53.
= rubromaculata Schultz.Nyt.Mag.Naturf.1904.42.p.39.,nom.preoc.Aign.
On the hindwings upperside there are red or orange spots in the yellow lunules of the upper part of the marginal chain of yellow lunules, most often the topmost. Schultz gives various positions of these spots.
The black costal spot nearest the base of the forewings is in the form of a circle and becomes more prominent than the other costal spot.
On the hindwings the median cell shows a black spot situated on the inner side of the black cross bar, which closes it and actually touches it.
The apex of the forewings is rounded, the tails of the hindwings shortened or broadened.
An extreme form with a reduction of the bands and black spots and almost total absence of the black veining on all wings and of the black dusting at the base of the wings.
The black marginal band of the hindwings connecting with the black bar which closes the median cell by a black line, about 2 mm thick, leaving no yellow interval.
The yellow median squares or divisions of the median band of the forewings are concave on their outer edge.
= comma Stattermayer.Ent.Z.1924.4.p.134.
On the hindwings there is a black outline, or margin, to the whole of the median cell through the veins being thickened or dusted with black.
The two black costal spots of the forewings fused into one oblong mark, leaving no yellow between them.
The black marginal band of the hindwings connecting with the black bar, which closes the median cell by two spurs. The black bar is enlarged to form a true spot.
The yellow median squares or divisions of the median band of the forewings are convex on their outer edge.
The marginal band of the forewings suffused with blue scales instead of the usual yellow. On the hindwings there is some reddish dusting in the centre of the band on top of the blue scaling.
On the hindwings the cross bar closing the discoidal cell is scaled with blue. Also the marginal band is scaled with much brighter blue than usual.
= demaculata Stattermayer.(nom.preoc.Schultz.).Ent.Anz.1924.4.p.134.
Forewings with no black spot present in the top space of the yellow median band and the marginal black band of both wings is extremely narrow. On the hindwings the black cross-bar which closes the discoidal cell is absent.
On the forewings the square black costal spot in the discoidal cell, the one nearest the base, is represented only by a narrow black streak.
On the right forewings there is no black spot in the top space of the yellow median band but on the left forewing there is a well-developed spot. An asymmetrical form hardly worthy of a name.
On the hindwings more than half the median cell is filled by an extension of the dark basal scaling. The costal margin is similarly affected.
On the hindwings the two yellow cells on the external edge of the black bar, which closes the discoidal cell, are elongated in the form of a lobe, which terminates in a point. Each advances into the black marginal band for at least 2mm and reach the blue of the band.
= fenestrella Cuno.Ent.Z.1908.22.p.133.fig.1.
= adaperta Derenne.Rev.Mens.Soc.Ent.Nam.1919.19.p.36.
On the hindwings the black cross bar which closes the cell is split into two by a thin yellow line, which gives the impression of there being two thin black bars.
= zanclaeus Gelin.Cat.Lep.l'Ouest.France.1913.p.23.
Aberrant body parts. The black streak from the head, over the thorax, to the hindpart of the body, is much narrower than normal and the wing covers appear not merely longer, but thicker and pure yellow.
The marginal yellow spots joined into a continuous stripe, the tips of the wings hooked and some of the veins absent on both fore and hindwings. Poroneural defect.
On the forewings the marginal band is dusted with brilliant blue. On the hindwings the band is blue, with no black scaling.
The ground colour yellowish-grey, somewhat transparent.
On the hindwings the black cross bar closing the discoidal cell is absent.
= catrigata Maxis.(nom.proc.Nitsche).Ent.Z.1927.40.p.425.fig.p.426.
On the forewings the black marginal band and apical markings completely absent leaving the wings yellow except for the normal dusted base and the two usual black costal spots. The hindwings similar, a thin black marginal line immediately precedes the fringe on all four wings.
= fere nigra Spengel.Zool.Jahrb.Syst.1899.12.p.383.pl.17.f.8.
Spengel did not intend this name to be used in the aberrational sense, he figured a specimen, which he called ab. nigrofasciata Rothke and added after this name, fere nigra, meaning merely that it was a very dark example of it. von Rosen in Seitz Macrolep.Suppl.1.p.9 gives the name ab. ferenigra Spengel (one word) with the following description - â€˜On the upper surface the costal area of the forewings and on the lower surface the whole of the forewings and part of the hindwings are irrorated with blackâ€™. If one accepts the words fere nigra, obviously merely descriptive of the particular individual specimen of nigrofasciata, as a name, the form can be attributed to Spengel but von Rosen becomes the author.
= flammea E.B.(Ecole Bordelaise 1924).Act.Soc.Linn.Bord.1925.77.p.17.
On the upperside of the hindwings in the yellow cells at the end of the median cell, between the black cross bar and the black marginal band, are two orange streaks or spots. These orange marks can frequently be seen on the underside in the same position, but their appearance on the upperside is much rarer.
The ground colour pale primrose.
The black marginal band of the forewings is so strongly dusted with yellow scales that the black nervures stand out as black lines. The hindwings usually show more blue dusting on the marginal band.
On the hindwings at the apex the top two submarginal yellow lunules make a complete junction.
Upperside of the forewings with the nervures very black and broad being strongly dusted with blacks scales. Vein 6, before its arrival at the black submarginal band, carries a thick black streak directed upwards and forming a very characteristic fork with this nervure. A black longitudinal streak travelling towards the middle of the yellow space starts from the base of vein 8. On the hindwings the last two of the yellow marginal lunules are united along the black antemarginal band.
The description is long and involved. The figure shows an example very similar to ab. evittata Spengel but the forewings have a somewhat wide marginal black line inwardly dentate. On the inner margin there is a rather large square black spot with a smaller one above it, all that remains of the usual black marginal band. In evittata this is absent altogether. On the hindwings the only marking is a black line on the extreme margin, with no yellow spaces on its outer edge, these are present in evittata. Spengel's evittata is figures in Frohawk's Vars.Brit.Butts.pl.46.f.1.
The outer marginal band of the forewings without any yellow dusting.
= immaculatus Verity.Rhop.Pal.1906.p.18.
The black spot, normally seen in the top space of the yellow median band of the forewings, is entirely absent.
The marginal band of the forewings completely deprived of yellow scales and the band of the hindwings deprived of the blue scales, leaving both marginal bands black.
On the hindwings the red anal eyespot has the upper part of its black border absent and the blue reduced to a thin line.
The third black spot of the forewings is separated from the external edge of the discoidal cell. The â€˜thirdâ€™ spot is misleading; apparently the author counts the basal black area as the first spot. The third would then be the one at the end of the cell, which normally reaches and closes the cell. In this form there is presumably a thin line of yellow between it and the cross-vein at the end of the cell. See sketch by Lempke in Tijdschr.Ent.96.pl.8.f.2.
On both fore and hindwings the normal conspicuous dark submarginal band fails, this area being primrose-yellow, bounded on its inner side by a suffused wavy black line which separates it from the yellow area of the median spaces, and on its outer side by the normal narrow black line on the marginal edge. In other words, the normal yellow marginal lunules are extended completely across to the suffused wavy line, filling each interneural space and thus forming a complete yellow transverse band in place of the normal dark one scaled with blue and black; it is only intersected by the veins outlined in black. The hindwings show just a trace of the normal blue and black scaling in the centre of the outer edge of the median wavy black line.
The black marginal band of both fore and hindwings extremely wide, in the hindwings almost reaching the black bar which closes the discoidal cell. The type is in the R.C.K. Collection at Tring.
On the forewings the submarginal lunules are almost quadrangular and touch each other to form a regular straight band, the veins dividing it are imperceptible. On the hindwings the tails and intervals 1, 2, 3 and 4 are slightly reddish from the inner edge of the black submarginal band as far as the border of the wings.
On the hindwings the two lowest yellow marginal spots are united through the absence of the vein.
On the forewings one or more of the marginal lunules are lacking, the rest normal.
On the forewings the yellow marginal spots are not lunate but oblong and the fringes not divided by black veins, the black marginal bands much reduced. Hindwings with the outer margin not dentate.
On the forewings in the discoidal cell there is a short black bar or streak standing out in the yellow area.
= minor Pionneau.Misc.Ent.1930.32.no.6.p.4.,nom.preoc.B.-Reym.
= minor Lhomme.Amat.Pap.1933.6.p.232.,nom.preoc.B.-Reym.
On the forewings the two top spaces of the yellow median band each contain a black spot, as in ab. bimaculatus Eimer and also a black bar or streak is present in the yellow part of the discoidal cell as in ab. melanosticta Reverdin. On the hindwings the black marginal band almost reaches the crossbar of the discoidal cell. This is a combination of the three forms.
The chief character lies on the underside where all the black markings especially those surrounding the cells are very greatly broadened and deep black as is also the abdominal border of the hindwings. The subcostal forms a real band of almost 2mm in width.
= niger Reutti.Uebers Lep.Baden.1882.in litt.p.16.
= nigra Spengel.Zool.Jahrb.Syst.1899.12.p.375.pl.17.f.9.
The wings black, the normal black markings only faintly discernible. Figured in Frohawkâ€™s Vars.Brit.Butts.1938.pl.46.f.3.
All the wings black as far as the anal eyes of the hindwings, which have the lower part yellow merging into reddish.
The fringes black and all the patterning deep black. The marginal band of the forewings deprived of yellow scales.
On the forewings the yellow marginal spots are almost absent as are the yellow marginal moons of the hindwings, the wings are therefore framed by the black marginal bands. The anal eyespot is half blue, half black.
On the forewings the lowest yellow marginal spot connects with the yellow of the median band in a streak along the inner margin.
The ground colour dull brown with a slight tint of yellow, the normal black marking still quite apparent.
On the underside of the hindwings the thin black marginal line that normally ceases before reaching the anal angle, continues on and meets the black line on the upper part of the anal eye, thus enclosing it in a thin black frame.
The figure shows the yellow marginal spots of the forewings bordered externally by a faint grey line instead of the normal black.
The ground colour almost white.
The specimen had deformed wing shape with a corresponding alteration in wing pattern. The main points are a strongly curved costa with the intervals 8, 9, 10 and 11 greatly widened.
On the hindwings the dark marginal band is only faintly marked and thinly scaled. Only the yellow fringe and the narrow black margin which borders the fringe is normal. The marginal band is pallid smoky-grey without any trace of blue, the anal ocella without blue. Forewings less affected.
The hindwings with the character of clavatus Cabeau showing the black marginal band connected with the black bar, which closes the discoidal cell by a thick black line, and on the forewings the character of bimaculatus Eim. which has a black spot in each of the two topmost yellow spaces of the yellow median band.
On the forewings the black spot, normally seen in the top yellow space of the median band, is reduced to a very little point. In the original description this yellow space is referred to as cell 8. This should surely be cell 7. It is a very feeble aberration and hardly worth separating from the type form.
On the forewings the oval spot in the top space of the yellow median band (cell 7) is strongly pupilled with yellow scales.
On the hindwings the anal eyespot has all blue absent, in its place some whitish dusting.
A combination of ab.castanii and ab.flammata Blachier.
On the underside of the hindwings red or orange spots appear in the yellow marginal spots. Similar to the upperside form ab. castanii but orange spots on the underside appear to be less usual than on the upperside and do not necessarily occur on the same insect. This form is restricted to the underside only.
The bluish-black bands of the hindwings showing, on their inner side, shady borders which correspond with a broadening of the bands on their external side.
Forewings with the yellow median band suffused with black from the apex downwards as far as the two lowest cells, which are of normal yellow. The yellow costal space nearest the base is also obscured with dark dusting but the yellow marginal spots are much larger than usual. On the hindwings the yellow area is suffused with dark scaling on its edges, as are also the veins. The marginal yellow spots are large.
On the hindwings the two upper yellow marginal spots are united through the absence of the vein. Perineural defect.
= paradoxa Frings.Soc.Ent.1912.27.p.2.
On the forewings the black marginal band broadens inwards so that it unites with square black costal spot at the end of the discoidal cell and even reaches the second costal spot, which crosses the cell. The band curves inwards towards the inner margin and just unites with the blackish basal area. On the hindwings the band reaches and cuts into the cell. The yellow marginal spots are large.
On the hindwings the anal eyespot has no border to its lower edge, lying free on a yellow ground.
= sphyroides Krulikowsy.(nom.preoc.Verity).Rev.Russe.Ent.1909.9.p.109.
The black marginal band of the hindwings all but touching the bar which closes the median cell.
A faint black suffusion of the yellow parts, particularly on the underside.
On the forewings the black costal spot in the discoidal cell units with the black spot at the end of the cell, reducing the yellow area to a small square instead of the normal yellow square, which reaches the median vein. The lower yellow costal square, between the base and the one in the discoidal cell, is present but reduced in size. The form therefore has the yellow squares on the costa less developed than usual, especially the one in the centre of the costa.
= tenuimarginata Stattermayer.Ent.Anz.1924.4.p.134.
The black marginal bands of both fore and hindwings extremely narrow.
On the hindwings the marginal band is dusted with yellow instead of blue scales, giving a dull appearance.
On the hindwings the anal eyespot is ochre yellow instead of the normal blue and red. The base of the forewings and the black marginal band hardly powdered with a few whitish scales. On the hindwings the blue is replaced by greyish-blue and very little apparent.
The forewings elongated. See complicated [original] description.
On the hindwings the anal eyespot is of a beautiful reddish-yellow.
Aberrant body. The abdomen completely white above and below, hardly spotted with black at the base. It is similar to ab. zancleus of Iphiclides podalirius.