Southern common blue. Butterflies of Menorca

Southern common blue ©Albert Miquel

Butterflies of Menorca

Butterflies are one of the most loved and admired of all groups of insects, as much for their attractive patterning as for the amazing transformations that take place during their life cycles.

They are well known both as adults and as caterpillars, the latter above all because of the damage they can do to certain crops. Nevertheless, butterflies play a key role in ecosystem functioning, both as consumers and as the prey of a number of other creatures. In all, 25 butterfly species are known from Menorca. Most are common and easy to see over much of the island in spring, summer and the warmest days of autumn. Others, with more precise habitat requirements, only appear for a short period of time in certain habitats. Finally, there are also a number of other migrant species that turn up unexpectedly in the most surprising of places.

See all butterflies of Menorca

Discover the 25 species of butterflies of Menorca

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Swallowtail This is one of most spectacular butterflies on Menorca, easy to identify by it size, way of flying and patterns on its wings. It is common in open wasteland...
Large white This is the infamous ‘cabbage white’ butterfly that can be seen almost anywhere from February-March to the end of October. Its larger size separates it from the small white.
Green-veined white An uncommon species on Menorca, where it is most typically found in areas in or near wetlands. It is one of the year’s first butterflies as it first flies in February and can be seen until October.
Small white Despite being very similar to the green-veined white, the small white is easily identified in spring by its yellowish underwings without green-marked veins.
Bath white This is a typical species of arid waste ground that appears from March onwards. It is a migratory species and the numbers of individuals on the wing can increase suddenly in a single day.
Clouded yellow A common species in all types of open habitat. The first individuals appear in February and the last are seen well into the autumn. Its tendency to migrate means that it is most common in May-June...
Cleopatra This is one of the most abundant butterflies on Menorca, very attractive and easy to identify (above all the males) due to its lemon-yellow colour and orange patches on the wings.
Wood white A very fragile-looking butterfly that flies from the spring until the end of summer. Although it is most often seen in woodland, some populations have adapted to drier areas of scrub.
Small copper A relatively common and abundant species that flies from February–March until well into October. Although it is commonest in fields and waste ground where...
Green hairstreak One of the island’s most typical spring butterflies, the green hairstreak appears in March and then disappears at the end of April or in May.
Lang’s short-tailed blue Lang’s short-tailed blue is a typical species of the edges of paths and tracks and waste land. It resembles the long-tailed blue but is smaller and does not have the obvious white band...
Long-tailed blue The Long-tailed blue is a migratory butterfly with a fast irregular flight that is similar to Lang’s short-tailed blue. A few examples may survive the winter and be seen at the beginning of spring.
Holly blue A very common ‘blue’ that flies from February-March to October. In spring it normally lays its eggs on the buds of bramble flowers but at the end of the summer...
Geranium bronze This is the infamous ‘butterfly of the geraniums’ that was accidentally introduced into Mallorca in 1989 from South Africa, and which has spread extraordinarily in recent years throughout much of Europe.
Southern brown argus A small dark-brown butterfly with oranges lunules on the wing margins. Males and females are very similar and resemble greatly the female southern common blue.
Southern common blue This is one of the commonest ‘blues’ and also one of the most abundant butterflies on Menorca. It normally first flies at the end of March or beginning of April.
Two-tailed pasha A spectacular, large butterfly with a powerful flight. Its life cycle depends strictly on the strawberry-tree and is always to found in woodland where this shrub grows.
Plain tiger You need a bit of luck to see this insect in Menorca since it is only ever observed occasionally. However, its size and wing pattern make it unmistakeable.
Red admiral A common species that hibernates as an adult and so can be seen on sunny days in winter. Its larvae feed essentially on nettles, where they make a nest from the plant’s leaves.
Painted lady This species is a notable migrant, Although some individuals may overwinter and be seen on the wing in February-March, the bulk of the painted ladies seen on the island appear...

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