Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Austrian insects (II): butterflies and moths

Lycaenidae on Lotus corniculatus
Those are always the most difficult
to identify.

For a few months I was stalking diurnal butterflies in the amazing land of Tyrol (Austria). Although I was focused on butterflies, it was impossible not to see the huge diversity of other kind of insects and arthropods I found, which I tried to take as many pictures as possible. In the first part of this series, I talked about beetles.

On this second part of the Austrian insects series I will show you some of the butterflies and moths I spotted, many of them very impressive. I probably had seen them before, but never paid attention. Now, when I'm in the nature hiking or birdwatching I always keep an eye to the grass to see if I can spot some bug.

Pictures were taken in grasslands and meadows, so most of the species are related to this kind of habitat. My photography gear consists in a Canon Ixus 95 IS, so you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear (I love idioms in other languages). I'm very happy of the quality of some pictures, but some others are quite low. I hope you enjoy the gallery anyway. I couldn't take a picture to all of the species I spotted because that wasn't my job, and... many weren't quiet enough!

The weather in Spring and Summer 2013 was a little uncommon in Tyrol (Austria). These two seasons were quite colder and rainier than usual, at least until mid-late July. This had an impact on butterfly observations. First months were difficult to see many of them, but in the end, fortunately, the weather became warmer and many species appeared again.

European Peacock (Inachis io)
Unfortunately, this was the only exemplar of Peacock I spotted. The day was colder than the others, so I think it was taking a sunbath. I took advantage of the situation to take as many pictures as possible (although they are not very good).

Common Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Large White or Cabbage White (Pieris brassicae)
Oh, the famous Pieris brassicae, very well-known across Europe, Asia and North Africa (although it's being observed farther). Its popular name in many languages is related to the plant it prefers the most to lay the eggs: cabbage. So, it's called Cabbage White (English), la Papallona de la Col (Catalan), der Große Kohlweißling (German) or la Mariposa de la Col (Spanish).
Green-veined White (Pieris napi)
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
A female Dryad (Minois dryas)
This species only appeared in two locations, quite close between each other. I was told that this species is pretty rare on that area, so it was interesting to have recorded its presence.

Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia)
Aricia sp.
Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris). It seems a male of this species for
its large androconia.
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) - Best photo ever ;-) 

And now, the moths! Moths weren't my target, but after many days on the fields, I came across many of them. I've also discovered that many people put a moth trap during the night, as a way to catch and identify moth species. It could be interesting to do it in the future. 

Orange Swift (Triodia sylvina)
Pine Hawkmoth (Sphinx pinastri). The caterpillar ran so fast,
that it was difficult to follow its pace.
Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica). It's given this name,
because it's usually found in company of Burnet moths (Zigaena sp),
like the below one.
Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae)
And the last one, a Six-spot Burnet, which is a moth, but very active in the day.

And this is it. Of course, I spotted much more butterflies (and some other moths) than these ones, but I couldn't photograph them.

If you liked (or not) this gallery, I'd like to know it, so I encourage you to leave a message! It's free ;-)


  1. woah, i'm from Tirol - and the photos are awesome, so are the descriptions .. it's kinda funny/sad that i never took such a close look at those small beautiful creatures myself. Great Job. Marc.

    1. Dear Marc!

      Thanks for your comment :) Yes, it's amazing the amount of things there are near us and we don't appreciate or we don't know. I hope this post really encourage you to have a deeper look at your surroundings. If so, share it!


  2. Most beautiful!
    Keep going with this blog please..
    die Ursl ;)

    1. Ursl! Thanks for the comment :) Hope you enjoy the next posts.
      Talk to you soon, bis bald!

  3. Vaja, som una mica Tyrolesos…la majoria d'aquestes espècies també hi són aquí.
    Gràcies per la visita, molt interessant el teu blog, hi cauré sovint.

    1. Bones Màrius! Gràcies per comentar i espero que t'agradin les properes entrades. Jo també tinc localitzats algun dels teus blogs ;-)

      Allí vaig fer el primer contacte amb les papallones, així que encara no sé quines espècies són les diferents. En cap cas he dit que siguin endèmiques dels alps :P

      Fins aviat

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  6. Hi
    Thank you - what a lovely set of photos and so useful as I'm off to visit the Tyrol soon, so I now know what to look out for! (Just one thing that may be worth checking, as although I'm no butterfly expert looking at the photo labelled Green-veined white it looks more like a Wood white with those droopy tips to the antennae and rounded ends to the wing tips - a lovely little butterfly that flies around very slowly)