The Letter The Performance  

leer Apollo
leer Apollo: the Greek-Roman god of light, health and music, to whom Mount Parnassus was holy, the United States space program, leading astronauts into death and to the moon, a theatre in Harlem, where Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown used to perform, and a genus of butterflies often to open the ball of species in specialist books: Parnassius.

Already in the earliest scientific literature treating the Swiss world of insects, "Papilio Apollo" is to be found. In the "Directory of Swiss Inseckts Known to Him" ("Verzeichnis der ihm bekannten Schweizerischen Inseckten") published 1775, it is listed as No. 545 by Johann Caspar Füssli, brother of Henry Füssli:

Papilio Apollo. The red eye-mirror. On the Hill called Lägerberg in Zurich, Mount Salèva by Geneva, the Jura Mountains, in the vicinity of Sion in the Valais (au Tourbillon) and in Grisons.

Johann Caspar Füssli junior (1743-1786) was active as a painter, as was his father (senior), his brother "Henry Fuseli", famed until today, and his three other siblings. He was intensely occupied with entomology (insect research). His insect directory, dated 1775, encompasses 1203 species and also contains animals such as spiders, crabs and scorpions, which today no longer are considered to be insects. In his days, though, Füssli was absolutely on the cutting edge of contemporary research, closely cooperated with specialists from inside the country and from abroad and, of course, applied the classification methods in principle still in use today in order to classify plants and animals developed by his contmporary Linné, the "Royal Swedish Knight and Private Physician Carl Linnaeus", who had described Apollo as early as 1758.
Füssli was fascinated by the variety of habitats offered by a country like Switzerland, and in the preface to his Directory of Insects he quotes Albrecht von Haller:

Switzerland with its habitats reproduces the conditions of nearly all countries, starting in Spitzbergen and proceeding to Spain.

This variety of habitats hosts a large number of species, plants and animals. Johann Caspar Füssli eagerly collects insects on his journeys through the territories, which then belonged to the Swiss Confederation. He catches them and adds them to a collection, dead. As a restless traveller he finds no time to observe the life of the insects:

Still some insects exist here, which I have had the opportunity of capturing during diverse travels through Grisons, the Valltellina, some of the Italian bailiwicks, the Livinio Valley, parts of the Territory of Berne, the Valais, along Lake Geneva to Geneva, and the nearby mountains, Salèva, and Jura, and capture them I had to, as these diverse journeys took place swiftly and I had no time to remain anywhere for long.

Three species can be found in the Alps:

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