30 Butterfly Species in Spain

Welcome to the fascinating world of butterflies in Spain! This country boasts a diverse range of these captivating creatures, with over 200 species to discover.

Let’s embark on a journey to explore 30 of the most beautiful and distinctive butterfly species found in various regions of Spain.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral is a well-known and widespread butterfly species in Spain. This unmistakable butterfly is admired for its striking colors and interesting behavior.

red-admiral butterfly

Keep reading to learn more about the Red Admiral:

  • Habitat: Found in various habitats like gardens, parks, woodlands, hedgerows, and meadows.
  • Appearance: Recognizable by its black wings with red bands and white spots on the tips.
  • Size: Adults have a wingspan ranging from 45 to 56 millimeters.
  • Diet: Nectivorous, feeding mainly on the nectar from flowers such as Buddleia, Ivy, and Michaelmas daisy.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs individually on the upperside of the leaves of their host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adults can live up to six weeks during the summer months, while the late-season butterflies can survive until the next spring.
  • Host Plants: The main host plants are nettles, with small nettle (Urtica urens) being their favorite; however, they can also use other species of Urtica as well as Humulus (hops) plants.

Always remember to keep an eye out for these beautiful butterflies during your walks in nature or even in your own backyard if you live in Spain; you never know when you’ll encounter this fascinating species.

Bath White (Pontia daplidice)

Bath White is an exciting butterfly species that you’ll find in Spain. This fascinating little creature has some unique features that set it apart from other butterflies.

Bath White butterfly

Let’s explore some of its characteristics:

  • Habitat: Bath White butterflies can be found in various habitats, such as meadows, open woodlands, and grasslands. They usually prefer warmer climates and are more common in southern Europe.
  • Appearance: These small butterflies have white wings with dark gray to black markings. They also have orange or yellow spots on their hind wings.
  • Size: Bath White butterflies measure between 4.5 to 5.5 cm in wingspan.
  • Diet: The adults usually feed on flower nectar, while their caterpillars munch on brassica leaves.
  • Reproduction: Bath White butterflies lay their eggs on brassicas. The caterpillars emerge and feed on the host plant before pupating and transforming into adult butterflies. Their reproductive cycle can have multiple generations per year.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan ranges from a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the conditions and the availability of food resources.
  • Host Plants: Bath White caterpillars primarily feed on various species of plants in the Brassicaceae family, such as Brassica oleracea, Capsella bursa-pastoris, and Isatis tinctoria.

Bath White butterflies are a spectacular sight in the Spanish countryside, so keep an eye out for them during your visits.

Small White (Pieris rapae)

Small White, also known as the Small Cabbage White, is one of the butterfly species you would likely encounter during your time in Spain.

Small White butterfly

With their delicate flight and elegant charm, they add a unique touch to the beautiful landscapes of the country.

Here’s a more detailed look at the characteristics of this fascinating butterfly species:

  • Habitat: They are commonly found in gardens, meadows, and various other open habitats across Spain.
  • Appearance: Small Whites have white wings with black tips on the forewings, and a yellowish underside.
  • Size: Their wingspan usually ranges from 32 to 47 millimeters, making them relatively small in size.
  • Diet: The adults feed on flower nectar, while the caterpillars feast on the leaves of plants from the Brassicaceae family.
  • Reproduction: Female Small Whites lay single eggs on host plants. These eggs then develop into caterpillars, which later metamorphose into butterflies.
  • Lifespan: Adult Small Whites generally live for around three weeks in the wild.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars prefer plants from the Brassicaceae family, such as cabbage, mustard, and kale, which can often be found in gardens and agricultural lands.

Now that you know more about the Small White, you’ll be better equipped to spot and identify them during your exploration of Spain’s diverse butterfly species.

Large White (Pieris brassicae)

The Large White, also known as the Cabbage White, is a common butterfly species found throughout Spain.

Large White butterfly

This versatile and adaptable creature is often seen during spring and summer months.

Here’s a quick overview of some key characteristics of the Large White:

  • Habitat: You can typically find the Large White in a variety of environments, including gardens, farmland, hedgerows, and grasslands.
  • Appearance: The wings of a Large White butterfly are predominantly white, with black tips on their forewings and black spots on both the forewings and hindwings.
  • Size: Large Whites are aptly named – they’re one of the larger white butterflies you’ll encounter, with a wingspan ranging from 5 to 6.5 cm.
  • Diet: The adult butterflies sip nectar from flowers, while caterpillars primarily feed on cabbage and other cruciferous plants.
  • Reproduction: Female Large Whites lay eggs on host plants, most often those in the cabbage family, where the emerging caterpillars can feed.
  • Lifespan: The adults have a relatively short lifespan of about a month, while the entire lifecycle from egg to adult can take up to two months.
  • Host Plants: Cruciferous plants, such as cabbage, kale, and broccoli, are the preferred host plants for Large White caterpillars, making them a widespread pest in vegetable gardens and agricultural fields.

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

The Orange Tip is a fascinating butterfly species found in various parts of Spain.

Orange-tip Butterfly

Here’s a little more information about this lovely creature:

  • Habitat: Orange Tips are typically found in areas with abundant wildflowers, such as meadows, gardens, woodland clearings, and hedgerows.
  • Appearance: As the name suggests, the males have stunning bright orange tips on their wings, while the females have more subtle black wingtips. Both sexes have white wings and greenish-yellow marbling on the underside.
  • Size: The wingspan of Orange Tips ranges between 4 and 5 centimeters.
  • Diet: Adult Orange Tips primarily feed on nectar from various flowering plants, while the caterpillars prefer leaves of their host plants.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs in spring, and the females lay their eggs on host plants. The eggs mature into caterpillars before transforming into chrysalises and finally emerging as adult butterflies.
  • Lifespan: Adults have a relatively short lifespan of only a few weeks during the spring months.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for Orange Tip caterpillars are plants in the Brassicaceae family, such as garlic mustard and cuckooflower.

Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)

The Clouded Yellow butterfly is one of the most vibrant and common species found in Spain.

Clouded Yellow butterfly

This beautiful butterfly has a unique set of characteristics that help it thrive in various habitats.

Here’s some more information about the Clouded Yellow butterfly:

  • Habitat: They enjoy open grassland areas, meadows, and coastal regions. Clouded Yellows can also be found in gardens and parks, making them quite versatile in their living conditions.
  • Appearance: Their wings exhibit a brilliant golden yellow color with dark black-bordered edges, which makes them easily recognizable. The underside of its wings has a soft pale green color, camouflaging it amongst vegetation.
  • Size: The wingspan of this butterfly ranges from 5 to 6 centimeters, making it a medium-sized species.
  • Diet: Both, the adult butterflies and the caterpillars, primarily feed on legume plants, but adult butterflies also enjoy nectar from various flowers like clover and lavender.
  • Reproduction: The females lay their eggs singly on the leaves of their preferred host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adults typically live for about two to three weeks during the summer months.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillar’s host plants include alfalfa, clovers, and other leguminous plants, which provide them with essential nutrients and a suitable environment for growth and development.

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

The Brimstone butterfly is known for its distinct leaf-shaped wings and bright yellow color on its upper side, making it quite noticeable in the wild.

Brimstone Butterfly

This incredible species is a fascinating addition to the diverse butterfly fauna found in Spain.

Here’s a brief overview of the Brimstone:

  • Habitat: It thrives in deciduous woodlands, forests, and wildflower meadows, preferring sunny and less windy areas.
  • Appearance: The upper side of the wings is yellow for males and pale green for females, while the underside is leaf-green.
  • Size: Their wingspan varies from 50 to 60 mm, which makes them relatively medium-sized butterflies.
  • Diet: Brimstone butterflies primarily feed on nectar from flowers like Hawthorn, Cuckooflower, and Knapweed.
  • Reproduction: The female Brimstone lays her eggs singly on the leaves of the host plant.
  • Lifespan: Brimstones typically live around 4 weeks, though they have been known to survive up to 10 months.
  • Host Plants: Their caterpillars mainly feed on Buckthorn and Alder Buckthorn plants.

By learning about the characteristics and life cycle of the Brimstone butterfly, you can appreciate the unique beauty and enchanting behavior of this splendid Spanish species.

Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi)

The Black-veined White is an eye-catching butterfly species you can find in Spain. It belongs to the family Pieridae and is known for its stunning black and white wings.

black-veined white butterfly

Let’s dive into some fascinating details about this beautiful butterfly:

  • Habitat: Black-veined Whites prefer woodland edges, orchards, meadows, and scrubland areas where their host plants are present. They are usually found at low to medium altitudes.
  • Appearance: This butterfly is primarily white with black veins running through its wings, giving it its distinct appearance. The underside of the wings has a greyish tone with the same black veins.
  • Size: Black-veined Whites have a wingspan of approximately 60-70mm, making them one of the larger white butterflies.
  • Diet: Adults primarily feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, including hawthorn and wild privet.
  • Reproduction: The female butterfly lays eggs in clusters on host plants in late spring or early summer. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, which then feed on the leaves until they form a chrysalis.
  • Lifespan: The adult Black-veined White has a relatively short lifespan, only living for about 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on various species of the Rosaceae family, such as hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), and apple trees (Malus domestica).

Green-veined White (Pieris napi)

The Green-veined White is a charming small butterfly species, whose presence often signifies the arrival of spring in Spain.

Green-veined White butterfly

Let’s take a closer look at some key aspects of this fascinating species:

  • Habitat: Green-veined Whites can be found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, woodlands, hedgerows, and gardens.
  • Appearance: They have delicate white wings, adorned with greenish veins on the underside, and subtle black marking on the upper side of the wings.
  • Size: The wingspan of a Green-veined White typically measures around 4-5 cm (1.5-2 inches).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies primarily feed on nectar from flowers, while the caterpillars munch on the leaves of their host plants.
  • Reproduction: Males patrol the habitat to find and mate with females. Females lay eggs singly on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: The adult butterfly lives for about 3 weeks, while the entire life cycle, from egg to adult, takes around 2 months.
  • Host Plants: They use different plants as hosts, such as garlic mustard, hedge mustard, and cuckooflower.

Now that you know more about the beautiful Green-veined White butterfly, keep an eye out for them during your outdoor adventures in Spain!

Mountain Clouded Yellow (Colias phicomone)

The Mountain Clouded Yellow butterfly, scientifically known as Colias phicomone, is a remarkable species that you can find in Spain.


This little creature has some unique characteristics that make it stand out from others.

Let’s dive into more detail about this butterfly.

  • Habitat: This butterfly prefers high altitude environments, often found in alpine meadows and mountain ranges of Spain. It thrives in elevations of around 1,500 to 2,500 meters above sea level.
  • Appearance: The Mountain Clouded Yellow has a distinct coloration, with bright yellow upper wings and a dark brown or black edge. The undersides of the wings are adorned with greenish spots, giving it a beautiful pattern.
  • Size: The wingspan of this butterfly ranges from 40 to 48 millimeters, making it a medium-sized species.
  • Diet: Adult Mountain Clouded Yellow butterflies feed mainly on nectar from various plants, while caterpillars primarily dine on alfalfa and clovers.
  • Reproduction: These butterflies tend to have one generation per year and lay their eggs on host plants that caterpillars will feed on.
  • Lifespan: The adult Mountain Clouded Yellow butterfly has a relatively short lifespan, usually living for about three weeks.
  • Host Plants: Some common host plants for this species include alfalfa, clover, and Astragalus. Young caterpillars feed on these plants until they grow into adults and take flight.

The Mountain Clouded Yellow is a captivating butterfly species that you can find in the elevated regions of Spain.

Its vibrant colors and fascinating lifestyle make it an appealing subject for butterfly enthusiasts.

Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra)

The Cleopatra butterfly, scientifically known as Gonepteryx cleopatra, is a beautiful and unique butterfly species native to Spain.

Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra)

This butterfly is recognizable for its bright colors and distinctive wing shape, making it a fascinating sight for both enthusiasts and casual observers alike.

Here are some key aspects about the Cleopatra butterfly:

  • Habitat: Typically found in open woodlands, scrublands, and meadows.
  • Appearance: Males have vibrant orange-tipped wings, while females have lighter, pale yellow wings.
  • Size: Wingspan ranges between 5-6 cm, making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: Adult Cleopatras primarily feed on flower nectar, with an affinity for plants like lavender and thistles.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs in late spring, which hatch into caterpillars after 7-10 days.
  • Lifespan: Adults may live up to 3-4 weeks, while the larval and pupal stages last around 5-6 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Mainly buckthorn shrubs (Rhamnus species), upon which the caterpillars feed and develop.

So, when exploring the picturesque landscapes of Spain, make sure to keep an eye out for the visually stunning Cleopatra butterfly, as it is undoubtedly one of the country’s most captivating species.

Purple Emperor (Apatura iris)

The Purple Emperor is an absolutely stunning butterfly you can find in Spain. Its beauty and elegance make it a favorite among butterfly enthusiasts.

Purple Emperor Butterfly

Let’s dive into some of the main characteristics of this fascinating species:

  • Habitat: The Purple Emperor’s preferred habitat consists of deciduous woodlands, particularly those containing oak, willow, and other broadleaf trees.
  • Appearance: This butterfly features a striking purple iridescence on its wings, creating a unique color-changing effect based on the angle of light. The females are largely brown with white markings.
  • Size: Quite a large butterfly, its wingspan can measure between 65 and 75mm.
  • Diet: Unlike most butterflies, the Purple Emperor doesn’t feed on flowers. Instead, they’re attracted to tree sap, rotting fruit, and even animal dung.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the leaves of a host plant, usually a sallow or willow tree.
  • Lifespan: The adult stage of the Purple Emperor lasts for about three weeks, taking place in the warmest months of the year, between June and August.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for the caterpillars are sallow (Salix caprea) and willow (Salix cinerea) trees, which provide the food necessary for them to develop and later transform into the stunning adult butterfly.

The Purple Emperor adds its unique beauty to the rich variety of butterfly species found in Spain.

Southern Small White (Pieris mannii)

The Southern Small White is a fascinating butterfly species native to Spain and other Mediterranean regions. It’s known for its distinct appearance and adaptability.

Southern Small White

Here, we’ll explore some key aspects of this unique butterfly:

  • Habitat: Southern Small Whites typically reside in sunny, open spaces, including meadows, rocky slopes, and gardens. They often prefer areas filled with their host plants and abundant nectar sources.
  • Appearance: This charming butterfly sports white wings with black tips and spots on the forewings. The underside of the hindwings has a slight greenish hue, distinguishing it from other white butterflies.
  • Size: Adults’ wingspans range from 32 to 38 millimeters, making them relatively small in comparison to other butterfly species.
  • Diet: The Southern Small White feeds mainly on flower nectar from plants like thistles, dandelions, and marjoram, providing vital pollination services in the process.
  • Reproduction: Like many butterflies, adults mate during the flight period, and females lay eggs on suitable host plants. The species can produce multiple generations in a single year.
  • Lifespan: The Southern Small White’s lifespan is relatively short, with adults typically living 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The larvae of this species feed primarily on various plants from the Brassicaceae family, such as wild and cultivated cabbages, rocket, and nasturtiums.

With its striking appearance and fascinating life cycle, the Southern Small White is an essential member of Spain’s rich butterfly biodiversity.

Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina)

The Spanish Festoon is a fascinating butterfly species that can be found in various regions of Spain.

Spanish Festoon butterfly

  • Habitat: This vibrant insect prefers open woodlands, hillsides, meadows, and grasslands with an abundance of flowering plants. Its range extends from the Iberian Peninsula to Morocco and Algeria.
  • Appearance: Its remarkable wings showcase colorful patterns of yellow, red, and black markings. The undersides are decorated with an intricate network of white lines against a grayish background.
  • Size: With wingspans between 56-62 millimeters, the Spanish Festoon is considered a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: Adult Spanish Festoons feed primarily on nectar from various flowering plants, particularly those within the Aristolochia family.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the host plants, and the resulting caterpillars feed on the leaves, absorbing toxins as a defense mechanism against predators.
  • Lifespan: The typical adult lifespan is between two to three weeks, with one generation per year. Some populations in North Africa may produce two generations in a year.
  • Host Plants: The main host plants are in the Aristolochia family, with species like Aristolochia paucinervis and Aristolochia pistolochia being the most common. These plants contribute to their distinctive coloration and protect them from potential predators.

Two-tailed Pasha (Charaxes jasius)

The Two-tailed Pasha is a fascinating butterfly species native to Spain and various parts of Southern Europe. This majestic butterfly is known for its large size and distinct appearance.

Two-tailed Pasha (Charaxes jasius)

Here are some key aspects of the Two-tailed Pasha:

  • Habitat: These butterflies prefer warm climates and are commonly found in woodlands, gardens, and evergreen forests. They usually reside at elevations between sea level and 1,200 meters.
  • Appearance: They have a striking golden-orange color on their wings, adorned with bold black markings. The two tails, from which they get their name, extend from their hindwings.
  • Size: As one of Europe’s largest butterflies, they have a wingspan ranging from 65 to 90 millimeters.
  • Diet: Adults mostly feed on overripe fruits and tree sap but may occasionally consume nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: Males of this species are territorial and will perch on trees to wait for females to approach. After mating, females lay eggs in clusters on host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult form of the Two-tailed Pasha typically lives for around two to three weeks.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for their caterpillars are different species of the strawberry tree (Arbutus) and the madrone (Laurus nobilis).

Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines)

The Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines) is a unique butterfly species native to Spain.

Melanargia ines (Spanish Marbled White)

This beautiful butterfly thrives in the Iberian Peninsula, providing a fascinating sight for all nature lovers.

To help you learn more about the Spanish Marbled White, here are some essential facts about this incredible creature:

  • Habitat: Spanish Marbled Whites are predominantly found in grasslands, woodland clearings, and meadows. They prefer warm, sunny locations at altitudes of up to 2000 meters.
  • Appearance: The Spanish Marbled White showcases an attractive black and white marbled pattern on its wings, which is more intricate than other Marbled White species.
  • Size: These butterflies have a wingspan ranging from 35 to 45 millimeters, making them medium-sized.
  • Diet: Feeding mainly on nectar, Spanish Marbled Whites are particularly attracted to flowers like knapweed and thistles.
  • Reproduction: These butterflies lay their eggs, usually singularly, on grass blades. The caterpillars then hatch and feed on the grass throughout the summer months.
  • Lifespan: Spanish Marbled Whites have a lifespan of roughly one month in their adult stage.
  • Host Plants: Grasses like Sheep’s Fescue and Cocksfoot serve as prominent host plants for their eggs and caterpillars.

Understanding the unique qualities of the Spanish Marbled White will make your next encounter with this beautiful species even more rewarding.

Take some time to admire their intricately patterned wings and observe their fascinating behavior in their natural habitat.

Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)

The Knapweed Fritillary is a remarkable butterfly species that you can find in Spain.

Knapweed Fritillary butterfly

It boasts striking patterns and a fascinating life cycle, making it a must-see for any nature lover.

Let’s explore some of the essential aspects of this beautiful butterfly:

  • Habitat: Found mainly in grasslands, meadows, and woodland clearings.
  • Appearance: Displays a stunning blend of orange and brown on the upper wings, with intricate patterns of white and yellow on the underside of the wings.
  • Size: Wingspan ranges between 35 and 50 millimeters.
  • Diet: Adult Knapweed Fritillaries feed on nectar from various flowers, while the caterpillars feed on the leaves of host plants.
  • Reproduction: Female butterflies lay eggs on the host plants. The eggs hatch into caterpillars which then pupate and transform into adult butterflies.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for approximately three weeks after emerging from their pupae.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars rely on different species of Centaurea plants, such as knapweed and scabious.

Now that you know more about the Knapweed Fritillary, you can appreciate the beauty and complexity of this remarkable butterfly species.

Next time you’re out exploring in Spain, keep your eyes peeled for these winged gems!

Cardinal (Argynnis pandora)

Meet the stunning Cardinal butterfly, also known as Argynnis pandora.

Cardinal butterfly

Commonly found in Southern Europe, this captivating species of butterfly deserves a closer look because of its unique features and vibrant appearance.

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of the Cardinal butterfly:

  • Habitat: Cardinal butterflies favor open woodland and clearings where they can bask and feed. In Spain, they are widely distributed in both coastal and mountain regions.
  • Appearance: Their wings display eye-catching patterns of reddish orange with prominent black markings. The underside showcases a mosaic of delicate silver spots.
  • Size: With a wingspan ranging from 60-75 millimeters, the Cardinal is considered a medium to large butterfly.
  • Diet: Adult Cardinals primarily feed on nectar from flowering plants like thistles, knapweeds, and lavender.
  • Reproduction: You’ll often find the female butterflies near host plants where they lay their eggs, typically in clusters.
  • Lifespan: This beautiful species has a short lifespan of about 3-4 weeks once it reaches adulthood.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars of the Cardinal butterfly mainly feed on the leaves of violets and pansies.

So, next time you’re in Spain and exploring the outdoors, keep an eye out for this enchanting butterfly gliding gracefully amongst the flowers.

Camberwell Beauty (Nymphalis antiopa)

Camberwell Beauty, also known as the Mourning Cloak, is a captivating butterfly species that you can encounter in Spain.

Mourning Cloak butterfly

This unique butterfly possesses distinctive features that distinguish it from other butterflies around the country.

Let’s delve deeper into the interesting characteristics of the Camberwell Beauty:

  • Habitat: Typically found in forested areas, gardens, and parks. It prefers locations with plenty of tree cover.
  • Appearance: Camberwell Beauty has a striking, velvety dark maroon color on the wings, accompanied by a bright yellow edge and a row of iridescent blue spots.
  • Size: This butterfly can vary in size, but the average wingspan ranges between 62 and 75 millimeters.
  • Diet: Primarily feeds on tree sap and overripe fruit, but also nectar from various flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay clusters of eggs on host plants, usually on the underside of leaves to protect them from predators.
  • Lifespan: These butterflies have a relatively long lifespan compared to other species, living for around 11-12 months.
  • Host Plants: The preferred host plants for larvae include various species of willow, elm, and poplar trees.

This beautiful butterfly species is certainly one to look out for during your nature walks in Spain, and you’ll be amazed by its remarkable appearance and the interesting life cycle it goes through.

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon)

Swallowtail butterflies are among the most spectacular and easily recognizable butterflies in Spain.

Swallowtail Butterfly

With their striking patterns and impressive size, these stunning insects can often be seen flitting from flower to flower.

Let’s take a look at some key aspects of the Swallowtail butterfly:

  • Habitat: These butterflies prefer open areas such as meadows, gardens, and woodland clearings.
  • Appearance: Swallowtails stand out due to their large wings, adorned with black, yellow, and blue patterns. Their distinctive “swallowtail” wing shape sets them apart.
  • Size: They are quite large, with a wingspan of up to 10 cm (4 inches).
  • Diet: Adult Swallowtails primarily feed on nectar from flowers. Their caterpillars munch on various host plants.
  • Reproduction: Females can lay up to 100 eggs, which then hatch into caterpillars. After weeks of growth, they will form a chrysalis and emerge as an adult.
  • Lifespan: Adult Swallowtails will live for 3-4 weeks after emerging from their chrysalis.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars primarily feed on plants from the carrot family, such as fennel, dill, and parsley.

The Swallowtail butterfly is a fascinating and beautiful species to observe in the Spanish countryside.

Look for them in open areas, and enjoy their stunning appearance as they flutter gracefully from flower to flower.

Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathseba)

The Spanish Gatekeeper is a fascinating butterfly species native to Spain.

Spanish gatekeeper (Pyronia bathseba), Spaans oranje zandoogje

These unique butterflies are mainly found in southern and eastern regions of the country, where they inhabit warm, sunny environments.

Let’s dive deeper into their characteristics and important aspects of their life cycle:

  • Habitat: Spanish Gatekeepers prefer open grasslands, woodland clearings, and sunny, flowery meadows. They tend to fly close to the ground and bask in sunlight.
  • Appearance: This species has a warm brown color, with orange patches and distinct eye spots on the upper side of their wings. The underside of their wings has a pattern of brown and cream shades with intricate markings.
  • Size: The wingspan of the Spanish Gatekeeper typically ranges from 34 to 42 mm, making them a medium-sized butterfly species.
  • Diet: Adults primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, while the caterpillars typically feed on grasses.
  • Reproduction: Spanish Gatekeepers are single-brooded, with the adult butterflies laying their eggs singly on the grass blades of their preferred host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult butterflies have a relatively short lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The main host plants for Spanish Gatekeeper caterpillars are various types of grasses, including Brachypodium and Poa species.

The Spanish Gatekeeper is a beautiful and distinct butterfly species that can be found in the charming landscapes of Spain.

Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus)

The Mazarine Blue butterfly, known scientifically as Cyaniris semiargus, is a fascinating creature found in many parts of Spain.

Mazarine Blue butterfly

This small yet captivating butterfly is not just a pretty sight to behold but also an essential component of the local ecosystem.

Let’s learn a bit more about its characteristics:

  • Habitat: Mazarine Blue butterflies are generally found in open areas such as grasslands, meadows, and woodland clearings.
  • Appearance: With striking blue wings and a distinctive pattern of bordered white spots and orange crescents on the edges, these butterflies are easily recognizable.
  • Size: They are relatively small, with a wingspan of approximately 26-34mm.
  • Diet: Adult Mazarine Blues primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, while their larvae enjoy feasting on legumes.
  • Reproduction: Female Mazarine Blues lay their eggs on the underside of host plants. After hatching, the larvae spend their days munching away, preparing for their eventual transformation into stunning butterflies.
  • Lifespan: This species typically has a short life, often living for only a few weeks as adults.
  • Host Plants: Some of their preferred host plants include the Bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and various vetch species (Vicia spp.).

In Spain, the Mazarine Blue butterfly serves not only as a beautiful sight for those lucky enough to spot them but also as an essential part of the local ecosystem.

Remember to appreciate and protect these delicate creatures whenever you have the opportunity to encounter them.

Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laeosopis roboris)

Spanish Purple Hairstreak is a mesmerizing species of butterfly that can be found in Spain.

Spanish Purple Hairstreak butterfly

Known for its distinct characteristics and appearance, this butterfly species never ceases to captivate observers.

Let’s dive into its unique features:

  • Habitat: Spanish Purple Hairstreaks prefer dry, sunny environments such as oak forests, hillsides, and open woodland. They can also be spotted in the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa.
  • Appearance: These butterflies flaunt iridescent purple wings with white streaks and a tail-like structure at the hindwings. Their bodies are dark grey, adding to their enigmatic charm.
  • Size: The wingspan of Spanish Purple Hairstreak measures about 30-36 millimeters, small yet striking amidst other butterflies.
  • Diet: Like other species of Hairstreaks, the Spanish Purple Hairstreak primarily feeds on aphid honeydew and occasionally flower nectar.
  • Reproduction: These butterflies lay singular eggs, usually on buds or shoots of their host plant, from May to June.
  • Lifespan: The adult Spanish Purple Hairstreak lives for about two to three weeks, while the entire life cycle usually takes around a year.
  • Host Plants: Generally, Spanish Purple Hairstreaks lay eggs on oak trees, mainly on holm oaks (Quercus ilex) and cork oaks (Quercus suber), where their caterpillars will feed and complete their development.

Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli)

The Geranium Bronze, scientifically known as Cacyreus marshalli, is a fascinating butterfly species native to Spain.

Geranium Bronze butterfly

This unique insect displays an array of captivating characteristics that make it a must-see for nature enthusiasts.

Here, we will provide a detailed overview of the Geranium Bronze, touching on essential aspects such as habitat, appearance, and more.

  • Habitat: Geranium Bronze butterflies can be spotted in urban gardens, orchards, and other cultivated areas throughout Spain. They thrive in warm, sunny climates and can be found at altitudes of up to 1,300 meters.
  • Appearance: Adult butterflies boast a stunning bronze-colored wings with a delicate brownish pattern and a white fringe. The underside of the wings is adorned with eye-like markings, which might ward off potential predators.
  • Size: These butterflies are relatively small, with a wingspan ranging between 23 and 28 millimeters.
  • Diet: As a nectar-loving species, adult Geranium Bronze butterflies primarily feed on the flowers of various plants. The caterpillars, on the other hand, enjoy feasting on geranium and pelargonium leaves.
  • Reproduction: Males are known to be territorial, engaging in spiraling flights when courting females. Once mated, female butterflies lay single eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: The adult Geranium Bronze butterfly can live up to 15-20 days.
  • Host Plants: As their name suggests, these butterflies have a strong preference for geranium and pelargonium plants, which serve as the primary food source for their caterpillars.

Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri)

The Western Dappled White is a fascinating butterfly species found in Spain. Its beauty and unique characteristics make it a delightful sight for butterfly enthusiasts.

Western Dappled White butterfly

Get to know more about this captivating creature by understanding these features:

  • Habitat: The Western Dappled White prefers dry, grassy areas, rocky slopes and scrub-rich regions.
  • Appearance: This butterfly showcases white upper wings with black markings and greenish-gray markings on its underwings.
  • Size: The wingspan of the Western Dappled White ranges from 34 to 44 millimeters.
  • Diet: Adults mainly feed on flower nectar, while larvae feast on Brassica species plants.
  • Reproduction: The females lay their eggs on various Brassicaceae plants in spring and summer. The caterpillars emerge after about 10 days.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies enjoy a lifespan of up to 3 weeks. The entire lifecycle can take between 5 and 7 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Brassicaceae plants, including garlic mustard and shepherd’s purse, serve as the primary host plants for this species.

Next time you’re in Spain, keep an eye out for the enchanting Western Dappled White.

This species offers a captivating glimpse into the world of butterflies and the diverse species found in the country.

Provence Hairstreak (Tomares ballus)

The Provence Hairstreak is a fascinating butterfly species native to Spain, captivating locals and tourists alike.

Provence Hairstreak butterfly

It is especially prevalent in the Mediterranean region, embracing the warm temperatures and lush flora.

Here’s a closer look at the unique features of the enchanting Provence Hairstreak:

  • Habitat: Prefers dry, open, grassy environments, particularly close to limestone areas and rocky, hilly landscapes.
  • Appearance: Displays a beautiful combination of orange and brown hues on the upperside of their wings, while the underside showcases a striking pattern of white-lined brown spots.
  • Size: Has a wingspan ranging between 26 to 32 millimeters.
  • Diet: Adults mostly feed on nectar from various flowering plants, including marjoram, thyme, and common rock-rose.
  • Reproduction: Males and females engage in courtship flights, after which the female lays eggs on the host plant.
  • Lifespan: The adult butterfly generally has a lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Larvae primarily feed on the leaves of specific plants, such as horseshoe vetch and other similar legumes.

The Provence Hairstreak is a delicate and exquisite butterfly species that adds a touch of charm and grace to Spain’s biodiversity.

Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania)

The Spanish Brassy Ringlet is a unique butterfly species native to Spain.

Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania)

Let’s dive into some interesting facts about this marvelous insect:

  • Habitat: Spanish Brassy Ringlets are predominantly found in the Iberian Peninsula, mainly in the mountainous regions between altitudes of 1,200 to 2,200 meters above sea level.
  • Appearance: These butterflies have a dark brown color on the upperside, with a distinctive brassy-orange band on their wings. The underside of their wings is characterized by black markings and a series of silvery-gray spots.
  • Size: Their wingspan ranges from 30 to 36 mm, making them relatively small among their Erebia family members.
  • Diet: The adults feed primarily on nectar from various flowers, such as scabious or thistles, while the caterpillars feed on grasses.
  • Reproduction: The females lay their eggs on grass blades or leaves, usually near the ground level. The emerging caterpillars will later develop into the adult butterfly form in the following year.
  • Lifespan: The adult Spanish Brassy Ringlet has a relatively short lifespan of approximately one month during their flight season.
  • Host Plants: The main host plants for the Spanish Brassy Ringlet caterpillars are grass species like Poa, Festuca, and Nardus, which provide essential nutrients for their growth and development.

Pearly Heath (Coenonympha arcania)

Pearly Heath is a captivating butterfly species that can be found in various parts of Spain. It has a mesmerizing appearance and is known for its distinctive markings.

Pearly Heath butterfly

Let’s explore some fascinating facts about the Pearly Heath:

  • Habitat: Prefers damp meadows and woodland clearings, often close to water sources.
  • Appearance: Lustrous brown wings with stunning pearly-white and golden-yellow spots on the underside.
  • Size: Medium-sized with a wingspan of around 30-40mm, making it somewhat easy to spot.
  • Diet: Primarily feeds on nectar from flowers, particularly those of the daisy and scabious families.
  • Reproduction: Males typically patrol their territory to seek out females. The females lay eggs singly on various host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adults have a fairly short lifespan, usually living for only about 2-3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars mainly feed on different types of grasses like meadow fescue, meadow grass, and purple moor grass.

Particularly fond of damp environments, the Pearly Heath contributes to the unique biodiversity of Spain’s enthralling landscapes.

Spanish Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthamelii)

The Spanish Swallowtail is a captivating butterfly species that is predominantly found in Spain, but can also be spotted in parts of Portugal and Morocco.

Spanish Swallowtail butterfly

Discovering more about this unique lepidopteran can be an enthralling experience – here are some fascinating facts:

  • Habitat: They inhabit a variety of environments, including open woodlands, meadows, orchards, and hillsides.
  • Appearance: Recognizable by its striking yellow and black markings, with beautiful blue and red eyespots on the hindwings.
  • Size: Boasting a wingspan of approximately 7 to 9 cm, making it one of the larger European swallowtails.
  • Diet: Adult Spanish Swallowtails mainly feed on nectar from flowers, while larvae are known to munch on blackthorn and other host plants.
  • Reproduction: Mating typically occurs in spring and early summer, with females laying eggs on suitable host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult butterfly has a short life of a couple of weeks, whereas the entire life cycle, from egg to adult, takes around a month.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars primarily feed on almond, cherry, and pear tree leaves.

Keep your eyes peeled for these exquisite creatures the next time you find yourself exploring Spain’s diverse and colorful landscapes.

Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia)

The Glanville Fritillary is a butterfly species native to Spain and is known for its distinctive markings, habitat preferences, and behavior.

Glanville Fritillary

Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating species:

  • Habitat: These butterflies prefer open, grassy areas, including meadows, fields, and coastal dunes.
  • Appearance: Their wings have a unique pattern consisting of orange, black, and white patches, making them easily identifiable.
  • Size: Glanville Fritillaries are small to medium-sized, with a wingspan ranging from 38-46 millimeters.
  • Diet: Adults feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, while caterpillars feast primarily on plantain and ribwort.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on host plants, and the caterpillars emerge after a few weeks. They form communal webs for protection.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies have a relatively short lifespan of 3-4 weeks, while the entire life cycle lasts about a year.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for Glanville Fritillary caterpillars are Plantago, Veronica, and Melampyrum species.

The Glanville Fritillary is a fascinating butterfly species native to Spain, characterized by its unique wing markings and preference for grassy habitats.

With a better understanding of their habits and life cycle, we can continue to appreciate and conserve these beautiful insects.


Spain is a treasure trove of fascinating and diverse butterfly species, each with its own unique characteristics and habitat preferences.

We hope you enjoyed learning about 30 of these amazing insects and the role they play in Spain’s rich ecosystem.

Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts or experiences with these beautiful winged creatures!

Butterflies   Updated: June 26, 2023
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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