A lacy butterfly

This delicate butterfly was tiny, half the size of my toenail, and beautifully patterned like hand-sewn lace. White and brown, not startling shots of red or orange as some cream butterflies have.

I am unsure what type of butterfly it is, but based on its distinctive ruffled shape and colouring, and using my basic butterfly books, I have identified two options:-

Oberthur’s Grizzled Skipper [below], the underside of the male is similar to my pale specimen. This butterfly is attracted to thyme, and this herb grows everywhere around us.

[photo: ukbutterflies.co.uk]

Or it may be a Geranium Bronze [below], accidentally introduced to Spain from its native South Africa through the importation of pelargoniums.

[photo rawbirds.com]

Or it may be something completely different. If you know what it is, please let me know.

5 to remember
mi uña de los pies – my toenail
la parte inferior – the underside
entrecano – grizzled
bronce – bronze
si sabes lo que es – if you know what it is


Our favourite butterfly guide?
‘Collins Butterfly Guide’ [UK: Collins]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A lacy butterfly, but what is it? #Butterflies in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-26C

6 thoughts on “A lacy butterfly

  1. Bird Watcher

    Nice blog. Definitely not a butterfly. Butterflies practically never come indoors or lie on tile floors but moths do. If you see a skipper or a Geranium Bronze butterfly it will generally be outdoors on a flower taking nectar and look exactly like the respective reference photos you have shown. Your images are of a moth in the Geometridae family. It has some characteristics in common with Mullein Wave moth. Sorry I cannot ID it exactly. (There are about 4,500 species of moth in Spain but less than 250 Species of butterfly and whereas I have a field guide to Europe’s modest number of butterflies I don’t have a field guide to Spain or Europe’s huge number of moths. The UK’s Natural History Museum may ID if for you, and especially if it is also found in the UK. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/identify-nature.html )


    1. sandradan1 Post author

      Hello, thanks so much for replying and helping. This moth was sitting on the terrace outside. Whatever he is, he is beautiful. I didn’t realise there were that many moths, that explains why I can’t find a definitive guide! SD


  2. Bird Watcher

    Hi again Sandra. I don’t think my comment on your sofa-loving dragonfly has gone through so I am repeating it here with a few additional observations. … ” Beautiful images of a male Western Spectre dragonfly (Boyeria Irene – known as Ghost Dragonfly by Germans) which has a penchant for flying at dusk or keeping in shade under trees or roosting in porches or under eaves during the heat of the day. This species is found primarily in Southern France, Spain and Italy. By the way, Andalucia is one of the very best regions in the whole of Europe for dragonflies and damselflies. There are quite a few exotic African species that have moved into Southern Spain in the last decade or so, such as the beautiful Banded Grounding, Long Skimmer, Black Pennant, Violet Drop-wing and Orange-winged Drop-wing. Spain has always been a popular destination for UK birdwatchers due to the high number of different bird species, but like me, many UK birdwatchers also now obsess over butterflies and dragonflies in the height of Summer when the birds are thinner on the ground. ” Trips to Andalucia for dragonfly photography are thus becoming increasingly popular- and I plan on doing one myself very soon! At least with dragonflies/ damselflies there are only a modest number to sort through – 79 species in mainland Spain – unlike moths. Dragonflies are becoming very popular in the UK since, like butterflies, they are easy to photograph with digital zoom camera when they land on vegetation. Surprisingly, the UK Dragonflies Facebook group even has far more members than the UK Butterflies group.


    1. sandradan1 Post author

      We do certainly have a lot of dragonflies and damselflies here, I’ll keep a watch out for the ones you name. Unfortunately they are quick movers and practically impossible for me to photograph! SD


  3. Bird Watcher

    Hi again Sandra. Further on the moth ID, after a bit of further searching around the related species to the one I thought closest, Mullein Wave moth, I have found Mediterranean Lace Border moth (Scopula submutata) to be even closer to your image and could be the correct ID. It generally fits the look, size and location and the English name suits how you described it too! Its prima facie a Lace border moth ! https://www.biodiversidadvirtual.org/insectarium/Scopula-(Scopula)-submutata-(Treitschke-1828)-img888387.html



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