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NB the vertical lines to the right (left, if space dictates) of each account show the max/min length of the forewing, measured as a straight line from where the wing joins the body to the wing tip . Butterflies Resident species A total of 16 butterflies occur regularly on Madeira, with 37 on the Canaries . Many of these can be observed all year round in the equitable climate of the islands, although others occur only as migrants, and several species – the three endemic green-striped whites and Greenish Black-tip – fly mostly December–June, when vegetation is lusher on the drier Eastern Canaries . Other butterflies, such as the graylings, which favour higher elevations in the mountains, fly only in the warmer summer months . Recent work has revealed that many of the butterflies have become sufficiently different from each other on each isolated island to warrant full species status, which has increased their conservation priority status . Madeira LargeWhite sadly appears to have become extinct .This was an endemic subspecies (or possibly species) which favoured north-facing valleys in pristine laurel forest in Madeira . It was formerly widespread and remained common into the 1970s but was last collected in 1986 . Despite many searches it has not been seen since and may have succumbed to a virus or parasite brought in when SmallWhites were introduced to the island in the early 1970s .The endemic Canary Islands LargeWhite is similarly confined to intact laurel forest and was lost from La Gomera in the 1970s . It still occurs on La Palma andTenerife but remains vulnerable . Migrant species The islands see periodic influxes of migrant butterflies; remarkably, these include two species, Monarch and American Painted Lady, from across the Atlantic in North America . Large arrivals of migrants have resulted in breeding populations becoming established in the presence of suitable natural and in particular introduced food plants for the caterpillars . Species such as African Migrant, Monarch, Lang’s Short-tailed Blue and Geranium Bronze have colonised the islands this way in recent decades, and others, such as Desert Babul Blue, may also become increasingly widespread . All records of butterflies on the islands will help broaden our knowledge of their status and conservation needs – please submit records via www .ufz .de/lepidiv/ . 1 Canary Skipper WS 24–28mm ENDEMICTO WESTERN AND CENTRAL CANARIES This tiny butterfly is endemic to the Western and Central Canaries and absent from Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the widespread Lulworth Skipper but is now regarded as a full species. It is locally common in rather dry, open bushy areas, rocky barrancos and rocky slopes from sea level to 1,800m in the hills, where the larval food plant (Brachypodium grass) grows. Adults fly from March to June (sometimes to late August) at lower elevations, and can be seen into September at higher elevations. They are small golden-brown butterflies that sit with their wings half folded open – a posture unique to this species in the region. There are some yellow-brown spots on the forewing and a darker border along the edges of the wings. E 192 1♂ 1♀ 2 Queen of Spain Fritillary WS 38–46mm This medium-size fritillary occurs on Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma and La Gomera in the Canaries and on Madeira. It is a migrant butterfly that flies from March to October and can be more abundant in some years than others. It flies low over flower-rich sunny areas in both natural and man-made habitats from sea level to high into the mountains, although it tends to avoid densely forested areas. It often basks in bare patches on the ground with the wings held wide open. The forewings are rather pointed, giving this butterfly a rather fast, powerful flight, although it is also somewhat jerky. It is much smaller than Cardinal, and the upperwing pattern is rather similar, with more rounded black spots on an orange-brown background. The underwing, however, is very different, being largely orangey brown with large silvery-white black-rimmed spots on the hindwing. 3 Cardinal WS 64–80mm This large fritillary currently occurs on Tenerife, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera. Some authorities consider the Canary populations to represent an endemic subspecies. It is scarce but widespread from March to September at the edge of laurel forest at moderate elevations (500–1500m), where it often glides along paths and lays its eggs on violets and pansies, but is most numerous in pine forests on...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400889266
Related ISBN
9780691170763
MARC Record
OCLC
1025298960
Pages
224
Launched on MUSE
2018-03-04
Language
English
Open Access
No
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