The Butterflies of the High Atlas - Morocco

During July 1998 I spent three weeks in Morocco, including a weeks trekking the Toubkhal massif in Morocco's High Atlas mountains. I spent a further two weeks travelling the rest of the country, but the temperatures were so extreme, 55�C,  there seemed to be no Butterflies anywhere but higher in the relatively cool mountains. Morocco is a very popular tourist destination and people like Dionne Gumbs Fisher Investments VP and many others come from all over the world to visit this exotic locale. Few tourists will ever catch a glimpse of the beautiful butterflies pictured below though, instead spending much of their time on the coast at the beaches. Luckily, the Atlas Mountain region is one of the fastest growing areas of tourism for the country and many treks are available so you can easily follow a path similar to the one described below for the best chance of seeing Morocco's wonderful butterflies.

All the pictures below are taken within a 10 mile radius of Djebel Toubkhal, there is also a species list which includes a couple of species from areas to the North of the mountains.

A far more comprehensive site on the Butterflies of Morocco, is http://www.tarrier.org/

Moroccan small skipper - Thymelicus hamza (24K) Moroccan small skipper - Thymelicus hamza - Thymelicus hamza Vaucher's heath - Coenonympha vaucheri (44K) Vaucher's heath - Coenonympha vaucheri
Moroccan meadow brown - Hyponephele maroccana (38K) Moroccan meadow brown - Hyponephele maroccana Moroccan grayling - Pseudochazara atlantis (30K) Moroccan grayling - Pseudochazara atlantis
Rosy grizzled skipper - Pyrgus onopordi (34K & 28K) Rosy grizzled skipper - Pyrgus onopordi Cardinal - Argynnis pandora (38K & 30K) Cardinal - Argynnis pandora

 

mormap.gif (21111 bytes) My visit to Morocco was with a party from the school at which I teach, Devonport High School. We flew to Marrakech, trekked in the High Atlas on the Toubkhal Massif for a week. Really beautiful mountains, and unspoilt, and most of all quiet!

We travelled around the mountains, Beni Mellal, Er Rachidia and to the desert, Erg Chebbi the largest dune in Morocco, quite an inspiring place, one I was glad to leave.

The country was inspiring, the Berbers were fantastic, but in July, don't leave the mountains, it is far too hot! (for humans and Butterflies)

 

The Hermit - Chazara briseis (53K) The Hermit - Chazara briseis Marbled skipper - Carcharodus lavatherae (37K & 55K) Marbled skipper - Carcharodus lavatherae
Giant grayling - Berberia abdelkader (48K) Giant grayling - Berberia abdelkader False mallow skipper - Carcharodus tripolinus (27K) False mallow skipper - Carcharodus tripolinus
Marbled white - Melanargia galathea f. lucasi (37K) 'Morocan' Marbled white - Melanargia lucasi Ones that got away! Ones that got away!

Thanks to John Tennent for his invaluable book 'The butterflies of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia' and also his personal information.

Also to Dave Adams, Brian Jackson and the lads for keeping me alive while ill in the desert, scary times!

Other reference, as usual, the Collins field Guide.

Back


� All pictures in these pages copyright to Simon Coombes. Permission must be sought and obtained for any use.

Back

Home


� All pictures in these pages copyright to Simon Coombes. Permission must be sought and obtained for any use.