Unidentified Spanish Butterfly

A.P.K.Torry apktorry at csm.ex.ac.uk
Fri Jun 13 08:26:42 EDT 1997

I have recently returned from sunny Spain where I spent a happy 14 days sun-bathing, swimming and butterfly collecting (Yes I did have a permit).

I stayed in a self-catering apaertment block located about 1KM outside

On one of my short (4 hour) wanders out in the countryside behind the apartment block I captured a short series (4) of small butterflies which are most positively members of the Lycaenidae. I have looked through several books (Guides) to European butterfly species to no avail - nothing in them is anything like these specimens. I have even borrowed the book 'A field Guide to the Butterflies and Burnets of Spain' by MANLEY & ALLCARD, which contains a wonderful set of colour photo-plates of all (or supposedly all) the butterflies one is likely to come across in Spain.

A description of the species follows:-

                Both sexes have a wingspan of 18-22mm, with no apparent differences                 between males and females.
                Both sexes have dark brown (Deep chestnut) forewings.
                Both fringes (FW and HW) are deeply chequered (about 1mm wide).
                In both sexes, the hindwing has a 2-3mm long tail, coloured deep brown
                The 'tail' leaves the wing area at an oblique angle to the body rather
                like a Hairstreak as opposed to say L.boeticus which is nearly                 parallel to the body.

                The underside of both wings has a pale fawn/cream background with
                large irregular patches of darker ochreous colour. The patches form a
                rather indistinct set of 'stripes' about 1-1.5mm in width.

                All four specimens are identical in size, shape and colouration except
                in the obvious areas of the genitalia.
                The species was captured along a very dry and dusty roadside verge
                and, although it appeared farily numerous, I did not see any more
                further up or down the road but confined to a short (about 20 metre)
                stretch of the road.

                The date of capture was 2/6/1997 and it was late morning, around 11:30.

                 I am hoping to persuade or AVA dept to produce a colour slide of the
                specimens which I can put on to my PC but they are still on the                             setting-board at the moment.

                Any ideas anyone.

                Andrew Torry


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