This is a group of eight provinces in the South of Spain, see below for details. I have visited Andalucía a couple of times at Easter over the last few years, mainly in the provinces of Malaga, Granada and Almería. There is a large range of Butterfly species in this region of Spain due to the wide range of habitat and climatic conditions. There are mountainous areas across the region climbing to 3400m in the Sierra Nevada (Granada province). There are also areas which are practically desert which attract a range of chiefly North African species. Due to the similarity of species in southern Portugal (The Algarve) and southern Spain I've combined the two sections into one.

The map below can be zoomed to look closer at one of the provinces mentioned below.

The Algarve

The Algarve is the southernmost part of Portugal and borders Spain to the East. I stayed on the very touristy coastal strip. In Alvor (where I stayed) there were a few areas of 'wasteland' which were nice for butterflies. Marsh fritillary, Euphydryas aurinia f. beckeri were common together with Scarce swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius, Spanish marbled white, Melanargia ines and Spanish festoon, Zerynthia rumina. Down on the coast at Alvor and close to Lagos a few additional species appeared including Mallow skipper Carcharodus alceae. The southern coast was too developed to give any natural habitat much of a chance.

Inland was the Serra de Monchique which was fairly natural moorland, albeit with a radio antenna built in the middle of it! Many Green hairstreak, Callophrys rubi and Marsh fritillary, Euphydryas aurinia were on the wing. The area has its own form of the Provence fritillary which I unfortunately didn't see. (Species list)

Spanish marbled white - Melanargia inesSpanish festoon - Zerynthia rumina (46K & 26K)

Scarce swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius f. feisthamelii (46K) 



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The easternmost province of Andalucía. I only visited briefly, staying in San Jose near the Cabo de Gata. It was refreshing to walk unspoilt coastline in southern Spain I must say. Notable sightings included what seemed to be an influx of Lang's short-tailed blue, Leptotes pirithous, presumably from North Africa together with Red underwing skipper, Spialia sertorius. (Species list)

Lang's short-tailed blue - Leptotes pirithous (23K & 34K) Red underwing skipper - Spialia sertorius (32K & 40K)



The beautiful Sierra de Grazalema slopes down to a little town called El Bosque, popular with Hangliders, but nice for butterflies also. The Speckled wood, Pararge aegeria is a novelty for northern lepidopterists, with its orange colouration it can be quite confusing. Green hairstreak, Callophrys rubi was common here also. (Species list)

Speckled wood - Pararge aegeria (38K)


Granada is a fantastic province of Spain. The Sierra Nevada mountains are unique in this part of Europe, holding snow late into Spring. Because of its isolation from other large mountain ranges many unique forms and species live here. This is true of a number of isolated ranges in central and southern Spain, and makes it a very special place to visit. Spring in the southern mountains, near Juviles saw Lorquin's blue, Cupido lorquinii, Provençal fritillary, Mellicta deione, two similar blues namely, False baton blue, Pseudophilotes abencerragus and Panoptes blue, Pseudophilotes panoptes.

North of the range saw poor weather at Pinos Genil, still Morocco orange tip, Anthocharis belia and Provence hairstreak, Tomares ballus flew in the brief sunny spells. On the Granada coast between Nerja and Almuñécar was a nice piece of semi desert surrounded by scrub. Green-striped white, Euchloe belemia was common together with two swallowtails. (Species list)

Lorquin's blue - Cupido lorquinii (28K & 21K) Provençal fritillary - Mellicta deione (32K & 40K) False baton blue - Pseudophilotes abencerragus (36K & 27K)

Panoptes blue - Pseudophilotes panoptes (24K) Provence hairstreak - Tomares ballus (30K) Green-striped white - Euchloe belemia (29K)


Chapman's green hairstreak - Callophrys avis (49K) Black-eyed blue - Glaucopsyche melanops (25K & 33K & 36K)

The coastline of Malaga province is one of the most (over) developed places in Europe. However there are places to escape to, some of which are not far away. Inland from Estepona we found Manilva gorge with Chapman's green hairstreak, Callophrys avis,  and Cleopatra, Gonepteryx cleopatra. Reasonably extensive nearby woodland was home to Provence hairstreak, Tomares ballus, Black-eyed blue, Glaucopsyche melanops and Morocco orange tip, Anthocharis belia. Several places, including Nerja and Rincon de la Victoria had Geranium bronze, Cacyreus marshalli flying near the Geraniums on the coastal. strip. (Species list)

Morocco orange tip - Anthocharis belia (61K) Geranium bronze - Cacyreus marshalli (32K & 32K)



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



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