Nature Profiles

Spanish Butterflies

Spain's southerly latitude, proximity to Africa, and long isolation as a peninsula have all helped create a rich and diverse butterfly fauna.  An exploration of any region has the potential to turn up a large number of species, especially where high mountains slope down to southerly, Mediterranean-influenced lowlands.

My sincere thanks go to Matt Rowlings, who has been happy to help identify some of the trickier species here.  His excellent website on European butterflies can be found here.

Hesperiids (Skippers)

The Skippers are a diverse family of butterflies in Spain - 30 members of the family are found here, including all British species except the Grizzled Skipper, Pyrgus malvae, (although many of its very similar looking cousins are found in the country).

Papillionids (Swallowtails & Apollos)

This family of butterflies contains the largest and most dazzling European species. Five species from the family can be seen in Spain, including the two pictured here.

Pieridae (Whites)

Spain is home to a 23 Pierids, from the familiar Small and Large Whites, to highly specialised mountain species such as the Peak White and Mountain Clouded Yellow. All British Pierids are widespread and common in Spain.

Lycaenids (Blues, Hairstreaks & Coppers)

The Lycaenids are a very diverse family in Europe, with many very similar species. In all, 73 Lycaenids can be seen in Spain, including 54 blues, making identificaton a tricky prospect! All British Lycaenids can be seen in Spain, although some are restricted to the Pyrenees.

Nymphalids (Fritillaries, Browns & Ringlets)

The largest family of butterflies in Spain, with nearly 100 species, several found nowhere else such as the Nevada Grayling and Zapater's and Chapman's Ringlets.