Some butterflies from Hymettus , Mount Dirfis and elsewhere

  • 36 Replies
  • 18069 Views

Alice

  • Hero Member
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus and mount Dirfis
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2012, 05:57:37 PM »
Bolanthus, Jersey Tiger moths (Euplagia quadripunctaria) are also those seen in the valley of butterflies on Paros. A few have escaped and taken up residence in our garden, a few kilometres down the road. I didn't know they could also be found on Mt Hymettus - in its shadier/cooler corners perhaps(?)
Oron, our swallowtails also feed on Foeniculum vulgare and Ruta graveolens (Rue) - no tasty Crithmum for them.
For a few days in October almost two years ago our Tamarisks were covered in clouds of Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui).
Below are some photos of "our" butterflies/moths:
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on autumn-flowering Tamarisk
Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) on Lantana camara
Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) on Lavandula
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) on Lantana camara
Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) on Lantana camara
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

*

MikeHardman

  • Hero Member
    • www.mikehardman.com
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus and mount Dirfis
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2012, 08:57:29 PM »
Alice,
More nice piccies; we are so lucky to have these wondrous creatures as mobile decorations to our gardens; and companions as we garden.
Thanks for your observation re swallowtails.

Just a thought: is your Pyronia tithonus actually Maniola halicarnassus ?

That image comes from http://www.adameros.org/IcerikDetay.asp?IcerikKatId=3&TurId=293; it is at the bottom-right of that page, where a little info can be seen in the caption.

It would be nice if you have it on Paros, as it seems it is 'Known only from Nissyros and the adjacent Turkish coast'
(http://users.auth.gr/~efthymia/Butterflies/halicarnassus.html). I note Paros is about 185km west of Nissyros.
Thomson identified it as a new species in SW Turkey only in 1990 - relatively recently.

Maniola chia is also a possibility (restricted to the Greek island of Chios and Oinousses according to recent records, I know); Chios is NE of Paros. Example photo: http://www.theinsectcollector.com/acatalog/info_3948.html

There's a useful paper on these and close relatives, including specimen photos and distribution maps - http://dpc.uba.uva.nl/ctz/vol73/nr04/art05.

I am suspicious of Pyronia because, with both the Greek species, Pp. tithonus and cecilia, the base colour of the forewing upperside is more plain - whereas yours has more patterning, especially towards the base.
http://users.auth.gr/~efthymia/Butterflies/tithonus_cecilia.html
(from the provisional species list at http://users.auth.gr/~efthymia/Butterflies/Butterflies_of_Greece.html).
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

*

Bolanthus

  • Newbie
    • Email
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus and mount Dirfis
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2012, 12:07:28 AM »
Bolanthus, Jersey Tiger moths (Euplagia quadripunctaria) are also those seen in the valley of butterflies on Paros. A few have escaped and taken up residence in our garden, a few kilometres down the road. I didn't know they could also be found on Mt Hymettus - in its shadier/cooler corners perhaps(?)

Yes Alice, a common species on Hymettus and I don’t think they care for the shade or the cooler corners -at least when they are feeding on C. abrosioides! I have read that the famous "butterflies" of Rhodes (a distinct subspecies) have no stomach and rely on energy resources from the previous stage, but those ones on Hymettus must have one!



Aris Zografidis
A lot of interest for the mediterranean flora and for the water wise gardening –but no garden yet. 
my blog on Greek Flora: ROSA SEMPERVIRENS

Alice

  • Hero Member
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus and mount Dirfis
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2012, 12:31:59 AM »
Mike, thank you so much for all the information. It would be really exciting if a Maniola species had made it all the way from Nissyros, the Turkish coast or even Chios.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2012, 04:33:13 PM by Alice »
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Alice

  • Hero Member
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus and mount Dirfis
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2012, 01:17:06 AM »
Bolanthus, your Euplagia quadripunctaria are positively on a feeding frenzy! If the famous ones from the valleys of the butterflies are a distinct subspecies without a stomach, that would explain why I have never seen them feeding but only resting in the shade of oleanders or Aptenia cordifolia.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

*

Fleur Pavlidis

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus and mount Dirfis
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2012, 10:37:41 AM »
Yes, we visited the Jersey Tiger moths on Paros last year and they were all sitting still in patterns as if choreographed. I'm happy you included a photo of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Alice, first so that I now know its name, and second because I always smile when I see one.
MGS member, Greece. I garden in Attica, Greece and Mt Goulinas (450m) Central Greece

*

MikeHardman

  • Hero Member
    • www.mikehardman.com
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus and mount Dirfis
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2012, 04:07:48 PM »
re hummingbird hawk moths (hhm)...

I can't complain too much about the assortment of wildlife we have here in Cyprus, but if I could have two wishes for additions to the fauna, they'd be: fireflies and hummingbirds; we have none of those. In lieu of hummingbirds, the hhms make a good stand-in. They may not argue like hummingbirds, but they are great little characters.

I know little creatures 'live' faster than us (faster heartbeats, quicker reactions, etc.), but I'm still impressed when I watch a hhm feeding at (eg.) Lantana flowers. They flit from floret to floret, perhaps on different inflorescences, with unerring targetting and great rapidity. One is forced to think that while they are feeding from one floret, they are planning which one to flit to next, or maybe a couple of moves ahead - like a chess player. And in such planning, do they know their patch well enough that they don't need to see the next flower before arriving there? Or while feeding at one flower, are they able to avert their imaging mentally (they can't swivel their eyes but they can turn their head a little) to assess adjacent flowers/florets? If only we could ask them, and have them answer!

BTW, I think hhm is a good abbreviation, because it is somewhat reminiscent of the sound of their wings :)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 04:09:36 PM by MikeHardman »
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

*

Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus , Mount Dirfis and elsewhere
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2012, 06:53:04 PM »
I hope someone can tell me which salvia this is, that we saw last autumn being enjoyed by a humming-bird hawk moth in a private garden on Mallorca.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

*

oron peri

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
    • http://www.greentours.co.uk/Leader/Oron-Peri/
    • Email
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus , Mount Dirfis and elsewhere
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2012, 07:22:06 PM »
 Alisdair
Looks like Salvia involucrata 'Hadspens'
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 07:25:37 PM by oron peri »
Garden Designer, Bulb man, Botanical tours guide.
Living and gardening in Tivon, Lower Galilee region, North Israel.
Min temp 5c Max 42c, around 450mm rain.

*

Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus , Mount Dirfis and elsewhere
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2012, 08:12:28 AM »
Thanks for that, Oron!
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

*

John J

  • Hero Member
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus , Mount Dirfis and elsewhere
« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2012, 09:11:19 AM »
Mike, having said previously that I have never seen swallowtails showing any preference for our fennel this morning I spotted one flitting around a patch of rather sparse, dry foliage. A closer look showed this little guy. He may be in for a hard time finding enough to eat as the fennel foliage at this time of year is very dry and hardly nutritious, as Oron pointed out in an earlier posting. I'll watch his progress with interest.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

*

MikeHardman

  • Hero Member
    • www.mikehardman.com
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus , Mount Dirfis and elsewhere
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2012, 11:36:54 AM »
That's good, John. Yes, I hope he makes it.

Today I noticed a sardinian warbler on our Crithmum. He soon found a tiny swallowtail caterpillar, and eat it (after a bit of flicking it around). A juvenile sparrow watched him, then went searching himself, though I didn't see him find any. Despite their spines when young and bright colouration later, the caterpillars are obviously not free from predators.
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

*

John J

  • Hero Member
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus , Mount Dirfis and elsewhere
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2012, 08:13:26 AM »
I found this young chap this morning on a pot of rather dessicated mint. I believe he was newly emerged and drying his wings.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

*

MikeHardman

  • Hero Member
    • www.mikehardman.com
Re: Some butterflies from Hymettus , Mount Dirfis and elsewhere
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2012, 08:57:39 AM »
Isn't he lovely! Nice find, John.
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

*

Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Swallowtails and fennel
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2012, 10:33:37 AM »
In this part of the Mediterranean Papilio machon is fed on Foeniculum vulgare leaves in the early seoson, then mainly on Ruta graveolens, as foeniculum leaves dry out in summer.
... having said previously that I have never seen swallowtails showing any preference for our fennel this morning I spotted one flitting around a patch of rather sparse, dry foliage. A closer look showed this little guy. He may be in for a hard time finding enough to eat as the fennel foliage at this time of year is very dry and hardly nutritious, as Oron pointed out in an earlier posting. I'll watch his progress with interest.
The current edition of Pacific Horticulture includes a note that though most caterpillars thrive on native plants, in California the caterpillar of the anise swallowtail Papilio zelicaon is often found on Mediterranean fennel - a common weed there. Butterfly lovers united to fight a proposal to eliminare fennel from San Francisco on the grounds that it had become such a valuable food resource for the local swallowtail.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society