The butterflies of Andalucia

Andalucía ranks among the top butterfly locations in Europe due to its very rich biodiversity, good array of climates and habitats, and not to forget for Spain's East-to-West aligned mountain chains. Up to 152 species of butterflies live in Andalucía. This is 70% of the 218 species of butterflies in Spain!

Andalucía shares some species of butterflies with only North Africa, such as Lorquin's Blue, Common Tiger Blue, Aetherie Fritillary, Desert Orange Tip or Sooty Orange Tip, to name but a few.

Small Skipper - Dorada línea larga - Thymelicus sylvestris

Iberian marbled White - Medioluto ibérica - Melanargia lachesis

Some European species have their southernmost limit of their range in Andalcía, for example the Peacock or the Comma. Many Andalusian butterflies are typical species of the Mediterranean, such as, Provence Hairstreak, Cleopatra, Two-tailed Pasha or the conspicuous Spanish Festoon.

Plain Tiger - Monarca afoasiática - Danaus chryssipus

Moroccan Orange Tip - Banderita española - Anthocharis euphenoides

There is certainly a few regional endemics, such as Spanish Greenish Black Tip, Spanish Brassy Ringlet, Nevada Grayling, Arethusana boabdil or even several local subspecies of Apollo with orange occelli.

You can also download our printable checklist of the butterflies of the Serranía de Ronda. It has interesting information on species month by month.

Swallowtail - Macaón - Papilio machaon


Scarce Swallowtail - Chupaleche - Iphiclides podalirius

Where to find butterflies in South Spain

Some of the most renown butterfly hotspots in South Spain are found within these regions:

  • Sierra Nevada National Park
  • The Strait of Gibraltar
  • The Serranía de Ronda
  • Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park
  • The Sierra de Baza
  • Málaga's coastal hills
  • Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Natural Park

We propose you a 7-day itinerary to observe the core of butterflies on the wing in May in Southern Spain.

Spanish Festoon - Arlequín - Zerynthia rumina

Sage Skipper - Polvillo dorado - Sloperia proto

12 Most sought-after butterflies

With 152 species, this is a difficult question, but over the years we've guided lepidopterists into this beautiful region of Spain, the following butterflies were high on the list:

  • Spanish Festoon, for its unconspicuous design.
  • Aetherie Fritillary, for its beauty and very limited range.
  • Parnasius apollo nevadensis, for its orange occelli.
  • Nevada Blue, for being one of the local endemisms.
  • Two-tailed Pahsa, for its enormous size and beautiful colour palette.
  • Southern Scarce Swallowtail, for its pale colours.
  • Common Tiger Blue, for being a truly African species.
  • Moroccan Orange Tip, for their vivid colours and early fligh period.
  • Spanish Greenish Black Tip, for being a recently described species.
  • Spanish Fritillary, for their vivid colours and small range.
  • Monarch, for their impressive size.
  • Zeller's Skipper, for their extremely limited range in Europe.

Black-veined White - Blanca del majuelo - Aporia crataegi

Meadow Brown - Loba - Mariola jurtina

Butterfly checklist

Feel free to download and print this checklist to the butterflies of Southern Spain. It is compiled by Álvaro Peral into a single DIN A4 format, very easy to bring to the field!

Small Heath - Pánfila - Coenonympha pamphilus

False ilex Hairstreak - Qüerquera - Satyrium esculi

Butterfly tours

If you'd like to enjoy a guided day out looking for butterflies, please have a look at our butterfly daytrips.

Those interested in the regional endemics of Sierra Nevada, we highly recommend the Sierra Nevada butterfly tour.

Below you will find a selection of some or the most common butterflies of the Serranía de Ronda. We hope you enjoy the pictures:

Hermit - Banda oblicua - Chazara briseis

Stripped Grayling - Festón blanco - Hipparchia fidia

Hipparchia alcyone in Málaga

Rock grayling - Banda acodada - Hipparchia alcyone

Tree Grayling - Sátiro moreno - Hipparchia statilinus


Two-tailed Pasha - Mariposa del madroño - Charaxes jasius

Speckled Wood - Maculada - Pararge aegeria

Mariposa amarilla

Clouded Yellow - Amarilla - Colias crocea

Common Brimstone

Common Brimstone - Limonera - Genopteryx rhamni

Knapweed fritillary

Knapweed fritillary - Doncella mayor - Melitaea phoebe

small copper butterfly

Small Copper - Manto bicolor - Lycaena phlaeas

Cacyreus marshalli

Geranium Bronze - Taladro del geranio - Cacyreus marshalli

spanish gatekeeper butterfly

Spanish Gatekeeper - Lobito listado - Pyronia bathseba

southern gatekeeper

Southern Gatekeeper - Lobito jaspeado - Pyronia cecilia

Aglais urticae andalucia

Small tortoiseshell - Ortiguera - Aglais urticae

Queen of Spain Fritillary - Sofía - Issoria lathonia

Holly Blue - Náyade - Celastrina argiolus

Southern brown Argus - Morena - Aricia cramera

Lang's short-tailed Blue - Gris estriada - Leptotes pirithous

southern blue butterfly

Southern Blue - Ícaro moro - Polyommatus celina

spanish-chalk-hill-blue near Ronda

Spanish chalk-hill Blue - Niña andaluza - Polyommatus albicans

Wood white butterfly

Wood white - Blanca esbelta - Leptidea sinapis


Cabbage butterfly - Blanquita de la col - Pieris rapae

Butterfly trips

Those wishing to join a butterfly trip in Andalucía will find useful contact information on our butterfly checklist page.